About Us

Paula and Andrew KellyPaula and Andrew Kelly are enthusiastic walkers who live in Ramsgate with their two children.

Andrew has completed various long distance walks including the Coast to Coast, West Highland Way and the Dales Way.  He even persuaded Paula to walk Offa’s Dyke for their honeymoon.  He can generally be relied upon to know the cosiest pub, prettiest village and most interesting historical fact around any point along his travels.

Creating the Camino has been a real delight.  We hope you enjoy walking it as much as we do.


The Inspiration

The Augustine Camino came out of Andrew’s love of long distance walking.  When he was nineteen he set off with his brother to cross England on the famous Coast to Coast walk.  They did it the old fashioned way, carrying a tent and their supplies.  Alfred Wainwright, the founder of the route, was already famous for his many guidebooks to the Lake District with their pen and ink drawings and hand written text.  This inspired Andrew to create his own long distance walk.  The opportunity came in 2015 when Andrew lost his job in Marketing and was looking for something new to do.

Why a Pilgrimage?

About the time Andrew was starting work on the Augustine Camino an old church in Ramsgate received a £1 million Heritage Lottery grant.  St Augustine’s is the “Ideal Church” of Augustus Pugin – designer of Big Ben.  It is a treasure trove of sacred art and the inspiration for many subsequent churches.  It is also a Shrine to St Augustine of Canterbury – the man who brought Christianity to the English in 597 – so a place of national importance.  St Augustine holds a similar position in English History as St James does in Spanish so it seemed natural to create a “Camino” (long distance pilgrimage route) to his shrine, inspired by the Camino de Santiago.

Why a new route?

There were already a number of routes through Kent, including the Pilgrim’s Way and the Way of St Augustine, however none of them were long distance routes to the Shrine.  One option was to simply create a pilgrimage out of what was already there – starting with the Pilgrim’s Way and then taking the Way of St Augustine to Ramsgate.  However, the waymarked Pilgrim’s Way is the North Downs Way, which keeps to the hill tops and misses many of the churches – not ideal for a pilgrimage.  There are now guidebooks which solve this problem but they beg the question – if you are having to recreate a route which is not necessarily the original one then why not start from scratch?

Thinking like a pilgrim

I asked myself – what would medieval pilgrims do?

  • They would have limited time and resources so would have to choose a pilgrimage which was practical.  So I chose a week long walk that fits with time off work and is easily accessible by train from London.
  • How far? Well, the minimum distance you have to walk to receive a Compostela in Santiago is 100km (about 70 miles).  It turns out this is also roughly the walking distance from Nazareth to Jerusalem so that was good enough for me.  That makes a week long walk of 10 miles per day on average – reasonable for anyone who sits in front of a computer all day.  It also suggests Rochester as the staring point.
  • What to visit? – Medieval pilgrims would be visiting shrines and monasteries.  As it happens, despite the ravages of the Reformation, there is still a network of shrines and monasteries to visit – many of them recreated in the last 100 years. Not all of them were well served by pilgrimage routes eg the Shrine of St Jude in Faversham.
  • What else is important? –
    • Beauty – if there is a particularly beautiful piece of art in a church near the route the Augustine Camino visits it – this is why there is a loop through Littlebourne and Wickhambreaux.
    • Keeping away from main roads – Kent is a very busy part of the world but we have still managed to avoid roads most of the time.  Many pilgrims are amazed by the variety of produce growing along the way.
    • Convenient places to stay in the evening – there is nothing worse than walking all day only to find yourself miles from your accommodation at the end.  The route has been designed to solve this problem with a variety of accommodation right on the route.
    • Somewhere to eat at lunchtime – there is a country pub or cafe on the route, well placed for lunch, every day except day five (we usually have a picnic in the woods).
    • Living communities – as a pilgrim and walker you are welcomed more warmly than someone arriving by car.  You take up less space, buy locally and often need advice.  Local people respond well to this.  The two cathedrals, four Shrines and many parish churches on the Camino are vibrant communities.  You are welcome to join them for Evensong, Mass, Morning Prayer or just for a chat and a cup of tea.  Aylesford Priory is still run by Carmelite Friars whose antecedents welcomed pilgrims on this very spot.  Minster Abbey is a community of Benedictine Nuns.  They run a guesthouse and cafe and welcome pilgrims to join them in their simple chapel for prayer.

Maintaining the route

The Augustine Camino is a work of love.  We receive no external funding and maintain ourselves through full time jobs and the income from guided pilgrimages, booking services and guidebooks.

We keep the website up to date with all the information needed to walk the route.  Most people use this with the free gpx file, the guidebook being their only contribution to costs.  We are happy to keep things going on this basis and hope to see many more pilgrims appreciating this exceptional Camino Testimonials – Augustine Camino

Regular work on the route includes replacing waymark stickers (which are visible for the full 70 miles), notifying the council and pilgrims of any obstructions Updates – Augustine Camino, and encouraging churches and businesses to welcome pilgrims and offer pilgrim stamps Compostela and Pilgrim Stamps – Augustine Camino.  The latest project comprises working with churches and the British Pilgrimage Trust to offer Sanctuary – whereby pilgrims will be able to sleep on the floor or in a dormitory for a donation (usually £15 or £20).  The first sanctuaries at Aylesford, Thurnham and Doddington are up and running Sanctuary – Low Cost Pilgrim Accommodation – Augustine Camino.

Now that the route is well established, increasingly our work involves working with other organisations and the press to promote the Camino.  The Augustine Camino is already a feeder route to the Camino Ingles Augustine Camino – Camino Inglés (caminoingles.gal)