About Us

About the Peak Wesley Way and its origins

About the Peak Wesley Way

The Peak Wesley Way is a contemporary opportunity to engage with the ancient spiritual practice of pilgrimage within the beauty of the Peak Park. For centuries travellers and holiday makers have been drawn in by the arresting magnificence and splendour of the Peak District. However, few people have been privy to the hidden gems of the quaint, unpretentious local Methodist chapels and their treasured histories. Each chapel set in its local village has its own story to tell.

The Latin root of the word Pilgrimage means, ‘strangers through the foreign fields’. The Peak Wesley Way offers a life changing experience to small groups of up to six people of all faiths and none who are spiritually curious and intrigued by spending time in the ancient holy places, indoor and outdoor. The pilgrimage is for groups of friends or family with a shared quest for adventure, wanting to connect with a simpler greener lifestyle or needing space to reflect.

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Your pilgrimage

Historically, pilgrimages have been made by people of many faiths to many holy sites. Early Christian pilgrims would journey to a place associated with a saint, perhaps because of a deed or occurrence in that place. Today, pilgrimage is enjoying a renaissance as a way to leave behind the busy-ness of life or to (re)discover self, purpose or healing. Pilgrimage is all about the journeying; there is not necessarily a goal at the end of the journey, but the goal is in the journey itself.

Your pilgrimage is committing to taking a journey that will change you. You will ponder, reflect and think, you will journey through many emotions. You may have a question in your mind that you intend to grapple with, or maybe you will find your question or your answer on the way.

Origins of the Peak Wesley Way

The vision for Peak Wesley Way was born from a small group of local Methodists reflecting on the future of our smaller chapels in a changing world. Originally they were built as meeting places for a labour intensive agricultural economy. Today we share our beautiful neighbourhood with a much smaller residential population and larger number of visitors. Our chapels were still needed as places of gathering, but were not sustainable as we were using them.

We began to recognise that we and our chapels had a new mission, and a story to tell. As we shared our vision, people offered to help, and it grew into the Peak Wesley Way as you see it today. Most of the work preparing Peak Wesley Way for your pilgrimage was undertaken by local volunteers and supporters. As you walk your pilgrimage you will receive a personal welcome from members of our volunteer team.

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Peak Wesley Way and Methodism

The Methodist movement began in itinerancy. John and Charles Welsey, and the preachers who followed in their footsteps, felt so compelled to share the gospel story that they would ride or walk all day over hills and dales in all weathers to share this news with anyone who would listen. The chapels you will visit and landscape you will walk through bear testimony to these eighteenth and nineteenth century travellers with purpose from the industrial cities of Manchester and Sheffield into the farming, mining and quarrying villages of the Peaks. They tell the stories of the ordinary working people who were so changed by these encounters that they formed new “societies”, which over time built the chapels in which we now meet.

Journeying remains important to the people called Methodist to this day. Our chapels are gathered into groupings called “circuits”, with preachers and others travelling around the circuit to bring insights, experience and expertise to where they are most needed. We use the language of a “way of life” to describe how we daily seek to navigate life’s journey in response to God’s love.

The chapels you will visit and sleep in are not museums but active places of gathering and worship within Peak Methodist Circuit. They host uniformed organisations, repair cafes, art exhibitions, concerts and lunch clubs.

Fancy a pilgrimage in the Peaks?

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