Tread lightly

"What a wildly wonderful world, God!"
Psalm 104:24 (The Message)

Tread lightly

At Devon Pilgrim, our concern is not simply for the spiritual journey of pilgrims.
We believe that creation is a gift to humanity; one we have squandered and mistreated.
The climate crisis facing our world will have significant impact on the environments we live, work and play in.

As pilgrims in this world, we seek to consider, connect with and care for creation.

What does it mean to Tread Lightly?

To tread lightly is to engage with creation in a way that has a positive impact;
to leave no mark on the places we visit save the footprints we leave behind.
We seek to fully appreciate, and indeed celebrate, the rich variety of environments that this county provides - from sea to moor, high tor or valley, from remote rural community to bustling city.
To tread lightly goes beyond our pilgrimage journeys, and means embracing a lifestyle with both spiritual and ethical values.

We invite you to Tread Lightly as you wander and wonder.
Take time surrounded by the beauty of creation in our amazing county, to reflect on your impact on the environment both as an individual and as part of a society seeking to live more lightly on the planet.

Take nothing but photos,
leave nothing but your footprints.

Tread Lightly with Devon Pilgrim

Considerate engagement

While Devon’s countryside can often feel remote, much of the land our routes walk through is home to people and animals.

Remember the Countryside Code when walking our routes – especially consider how your presence on the route might affect those who live and work in the area, as well as the animals who live on the land.

Leave gates as you find them, read instructions and listen to any directions given by farmers moving livestock.

And obviously you will take your rubbish home with you, but how about taking an extra bag with you and doing a litter pick along the way?

Tread Lightly and have a positive impact on the environment you find yourself in, wherever that may be.


Caring encounter

In their 2021 joint statement on Climate Change, Archbishop Justin Welby, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew called on everyone to

‘…endeavour to listen to the cry of the earth and of people who are poor, examining their behaviour and pledging meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the earth which God has given us.’

As you prepare for your pilgrimage, consider what this might look like for you.
Rather than carrying plastic bottles of water, bring a metal refillable one (there’s a great one in our shop)
Could you use public transport to get to your starting point rather than driving?

Tread Lightly and keep in mind the effect climate change is having on our planet, and the billions who call it home.


Contemplative Ecology

More than simply being aware of our impact on the created world, Contemplative Ecology leads us to stillness, to silence.
And in this stillness, to listen to the voice of creation.

On his website “The Natural Contemplative”, John Crockett writes,

“The heart of contemplation is a relationship with unfathomable reality, unmediated by any thought or concept or idea.”

A reconnection to that unfathomable reality will change how we view this planet and the impact of our presence upon it.

This will lead us to Tread Lightly as we go, not only while on a Devon Pilgrim route, but as we make our daily pilgrimage through life.


There are numerous organisations working to raise awareness and combat climate change. Below you will find just a few faith-based groups seeking to do this.