First Friday of the month 6.30 – 9-ish: A firm fixture for almost ten years, Pub Swainswick is a community pub with a difference. Children are welcome and we serve excellent Abbey Ales along with wine, cider, soft drinks and snacks. A perfect place to meet up with friends and make new ones with occasional live music from local musicians. On cold winter Fridays there might be 30 people in a candlelit church; on a warm summer’s evening there might be 80 in the churchyard.
Swainswick Walks and Pilgrimages
“Stand at the crossroads and look
and ask for the ancient paths
where the good way lies; and walk in it
and find rest for your souls.”
There is beautiful countryside around Swainswick and we are developing a number of walk and pilgrimage trails. Whether you’re a visitor, a walker or a pilgrim, you can stop off at the church and help yourself to tea and coffee. There’s a loo round the back and tables and chairs for a sit and a picnic. If you’re on bikes there are anchors for locking them near the churchyard gate and by the toilet.
When is a walk a pilgrimage?
A pilgrimage traditionally takes you to a sacred or holy place. But you could say that any walk can be a pilgrimage if you decide to make it one. A pilgrimage on foot is simply a walk with an intention – a walk to which you have given a purpose or meaning. Pilgrimages connect us to landscapes and places and to our internal depth and spirituality. You don’t have to be religious to go on pilgrimage, but pilgrimages have been part of Christianity and other religious traditions for centuries.
You might decide to go on a pilgrimage in memory of someone or on an anniversary. You might go because you are at a crossroads in your life. You might go in gratitude or to lay down a regret. You might go in search of meaning or to deepen your relationship with God. Or you might go simply to meet whoever and whatever comes your way.
Lam Valley Pilgrimage
5 miles/3 – 4 hours. Ancient churches, quiet gardens and a Holy Well
This circular pilgrimage route takes you round four tiny churches in the beautiful Lam Valley on the edge of the Cotswolds. Starting at St Mary the Virgin in Swainswick, the route crosses the valley to All Saints in Woolley and St Mary Magdalene in Langridge. From there, it heads up and over Lansdown to St Mary the Virgin Charlcombe, with its peaceful garden and holy well, and back across to Swainswick. Download the route here:
John Wood Countryside Trail
This 5 mile walk in the beautiful Lam Valley delves into Bath’s legendary and architectural past. Starting at the Bladud’s Head Larkhall, it heads to the tiny 18th century church at Woolley, designed by John Wood the Younger. From there it crosses the valley to St Mary’s Church in Swainswick where John Wood and his family are buried. Finally, you climb Little Solsbury where King Bladud launched his maiden (and final) flight. Download the route here:
Bell Ringing is an activity like no other – good for the body and the brain, a deep part of our history and still enjoyed today. There are six bells at Swainswick and they have rung out in celebration, grief and warning for hundreds of years. The bellringers normally meet on Thursday evenings, from 7 to 8 pm. Complete beginners, novices and experienced ringers are all very welcome. If you are interested in giving it a go, do get in touch.