On Sunday 27 June, between 25 and 30 people (and four very well-behaved dogs) visited the Myddelton Estate in Ilkley for the first ‘in-person’ diocesan event since the pandemic.
For those from across our Diocesan Family, it was a Laudato Si’ Mini-Pilgrimage, attended by our Laudato Si’ Advocates, members of our Justice and Peace Commission’s Climate Action Group and a delegate from J&P’s SPARK Justice initiative who will be representing our Diocese at the National Justice and Peace Conference ‘Action for Life on Earth’ in Swanwick later this month.
Others came either as individuals, professional ecologists and as members of parish groups which exists to support the long tradition of environmentalism in the Catholic Church.
Members of the wider community were welcome to join the leisurely Guided Walk, including some of our neighbours resident in Myddelton – and all were keen to learn more from Estate Manager Paul Elgar about the many and varied conservation initiatives he has been pursuing on behalf of the Diocese around the farm, woodland and Calvary which comprise the Myddelton Estate. These include imminent work to create a wheelchair-accessible route to the Calvary and the Laurel Springs Plantation, and a rustic wooden shelter containing interpretation boards which is planned to be sited not far inside the gate to the Calvary.
At the end of an interesting pilgrimage and walk, accompanied by the sounds (and sightings) of curlews, all joined a short, physically-distanced social event at the Calvary, where there was also a chance to see the progress made on one of the nineteenth-century carved plaques on the original gate. When the painstaking restoration work on both sides of the badly-weathered gate is completed, the gate will be returned to be fixed in place of the current temporary one giving access to the Calvary.
The date of the next of our Laudato Si’ Mini Pilgrimages at Myddelton will be decided shortly, and is likely to be over the coming weeks of summer. When restrictions are lifted it is hoped that many more people – including young pilgrims who attend local schools and parishes and our leadership group for young Catholics, The Twelve – may also be able to join us.