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Episode 23: With Guy Hayward

In this week’s podcast, Patrick speaks to Dr Guy Hayward, the Director and Co-Founder of the British Pilgrimage Trust.

Guy begins by sharing his own story: He explains how he went from being a choir boy at Bath Abbey, to reading music and eventually researching the psychology and anthropology of group singing, during his PhD at Cambridge. Shortly after, Guy discovered the power and emotive depth of pilgrimage – which inspired him to revive this ancient tradition, by setting up the Pilgrimage Trust.

Moving forward, the two discuss the meaning of the world pilgrimage. While Patrick highlights the spiritual weight of the term, Guy on the other hand explains that his interpretation transcends the boundaries of personal belief. Rather, he sees it as an opportunity to approach the land with a fresh perspective and learn something new – about ourselves, our land, or our history.

Finally, they explore the intersections between pilgrimage, food and farming. ‘We face a big challenge’, Guy argues, ‘both in pilgrimage and in farming, for people to start to connect to the land itself’. This sparks the idea of a special ‘SFT pilgrimage’, a collaboration between both organisations, in which Patrick could guide a group through the Welsh agricultural landscape – connecting farms, producers, and even chefs, to help ‘make food sacred again’.

Watch this space!

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Guy Hayward co-founded the British Pilgrimage Trust in 2014, and leads guided pilgrimages around Britain. He has been interviewed about modern pilgrimage for the BBC Two TV series Pilgrimage and Channel 4’s Britain’s Ancient Tracks, contributes to BBC Radio 4, and has been featured in Porter, Tatler, Condé Nast Traveller, Country Walking, Waitrose Weekend, The Times, The Guardian and The Telegraph. He has created pilgrim routes for English Heritage and, with Nick Mayhew-Smith, for the Association of English Cathedrals. Guy completed a PhD at Cambridge on how singing forms community, founded choralevensong.org and is half of musical comedy double act Bounder & Cad.