A NEW pilgrim path celebrating the ancient Celtic links between Ireland and Wales will help revive the rural economy of north Pembrokeshire.

That was the claim made at a well-attended presentation in Fishguard when plans for the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way, connecting the early Christian monastic site at Ferns, Co Wexford, with St Davids, were unveiled.

Taking an average of nine days to walk, the new path will consist of five stages in Wexford and four in Pembrokeshire with an Irish Sea crossing in-between.

The route of the new path was introduced by David Pepper from the British Pilgrimage Trust.

As Pilgrimage Officer for the Pembrokeshire side of the route, he is working to engage with the community and develop the route infrastructure. “We are at the beginning of an exciting journey that will help to revive the rural economy of North Pembrokeshire,” he said.

“Pilgrims are likely to spend 2.3 more times in the local community compared to other tourists.

“This is in the very nature of travelling by foot and traditionally staying one night in each community along the way.

“The route will reconnect with north Pembrokeshire communities such as Fishguard and Goodwick, Llanwnda, St Nicholas, Tregwynt, Mathry, Trefin, Llanrhian, Porthgain and the Dowrog Common corridor before leading into the city of St Davids.”

Artist Ailsa Richardson recited poetry from Dewi Emrys’ Pwll Deri and her own works inspired by having walked the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way as part of the Ancient Connections Creative Camino.

Also appearing at the event was Iain Tweedale, from Journeying, and Christine Smith, from Guided Pilgrimage, who took audience members on a tour through the recently- launched website and explained how businesses can sign up to be partners in the development of the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way.

“Pilgrimage is the largest growth area in tourism at the moment,” said Mr Tweedale, “and the beautiful landscapes, nature and art of Pembrokeshire, along with the destination of St Davids Cathedral and its connections to Ferns in County Wexford make this route unique and distinctive.”