A step in the right direction as Bishop blesses pilgrims’ access to Cuddy’s Well

First published on: 4th October 2021

New steps and railings which link the Three-Churches Trail to an ancient holy well in Northumberland have be blessed by The Right Revd Bishop of Berwick, Mark Wroe.

The opening ceremony and blessing on Sunday 3 October at 3pm put ‘Cuddy’s Well’ at the culmination of the walking trail which connects St Cuthbert’s Churches in Bellingham, Elsdon and Corsenside.

Bishop Mark said: “It was a joy to dedicate the new steps at St Cuthbert’s Bellingham and celebrate all involved in their development. They are a beautiful gift to all pilgrims, whether on the Three-Church Trail, visitors to ‘Cuddy’s Well’ or to St Cuthbert’s Church.

“I pray that God will give us all confidence in our next steps in these uncertain times and that these steps might be a blessing to all on their way.”

Supported by Vattenfall’s Ray Wind Fund and others, the steps and railings have been constructed to enable people to get safely from the churchyard to the famous holy well. 

David Burn, Ray Wind Funds Board chair, said: “We were delighted to help with St Cuthbert’s application for funding, which we hope will enable more people to access the holy well and stimulate their interest in the many other historic and beautiful rural churches in Northumberland.”

‘Cuddy’s Well’ is believed to have been consecrated and blessed by St Cuthbert himself, who was a noted dowser.

Charlotte Loyd, of Bellingham’s Parochial Church Council, said:  "St Cuthbert’s Steps will provide the link between Bellingham’s two most historic sites, the Grade I listed church and the holy well. It will be an additional attraction in a district already popular with visitors and may eventually link up with the Northern Saints Trails. 

“We are extremely grateful to our donors, architect Chris Blackburn, Neil Jones and his construction team, Phil Dent for the beautiful railings and all those who have contributed time and expertise. Particular thanks go to Revd Dr Susan Ramsaran who provided the vision, as well as writing the Three-Church Trail guide book, and Marie Ness, secretary of the Three-Church Trail Group, who has led the project over many months."

The Three-Church Trail Group, with Bellingham’s PCC, hope to inspire people to appreciate the cultural, historic and archaeological heritage of the three St Cuthbert’s churches by either walking the route as a pilgrimage, or driving to visit, using the Three-Church Trail Guide book.

People following the trail and visiting Cuddy’s Well will help to ensure a sustainable future for the three rural churches, as part of the Diocese’s vision of ‘Rural Churches for Everyone.’ Local communities will also benefit from increased business in cafes and shops.

Communities in Northumberland, within the area of benefit of the windfarm, are already able to access the general funding created by Vattenfall‘s Ray Wind Farm, near Kirkwhelpington. 

Applications from non-charitable organisations should be made to the Ray Wind Funds and applications for charitable activities from £500 up to £10,000 - to the Vattenfall Small Grants Programme at the Community Foundation for Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

To find out if your project might qualify for funding, visit the Raywindfund website or email admin@raywindfund.co.uk.

For further information on the Vattenfall Small Grant Programme at the Community Foundation, email Pete Barrett at pb@communityfoundation.org.uk


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