A UNIQUE pilgrimage trail is being launched to celebrate a significant Saxon saint.

Led by Hartlepool Borough Council, the 48-mile Way of St Hild will be supported by augmented reality stations along its route between Hartlepool and Whitby.

Hild – in Latin, Hilda – was the Abbess of both Hartlepool and Whitby in Saxon times and was a significant woman leader.

Fittingly, the route will be officially launched on International Women’s Day 2020, March 8, starting with a celebratory service at St Hilda’s Church in Hartlepool at 9.30am led by the The Rt Revd Sarah Clark, Bishop of Jarrow who said: “I’m delighted to be taking part in the launch of The Way of St Hild which is a really exciting route celebrating the importance of Hild to both Hartlepool and Whitby and recognising the huge contribution she made to our Christian heritage.”

Following this service, walkers and runners will depart St Hilda’s Church, bound for Whitby.

In the afternoon, a short service of reflection will be held at Whitby Abbey at 2.30pm and The Rt Revd Paul Ferguson, Bishop of Whitby, will then lead a service at St Hilda’s Church in Whitby at 4pm.

The Northern Echo:

He said: “Hild’s remarkable life came to a climax in Whitby and it will be very special to be part of the launch of The Way of St Hild on International Women’s Day. I hope many people will join in the celebration services at Hartlepool and in Whitby, where I look forward to welcoming Bishop Sarah to preach.”

The creation of The Way of St Hild – which will use existing public rights of way and established National Trails – has been supported by the Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean Emeritus of Durham, who said: “The Way of St Hild is offered as a journey that carries multiple significance.

"It begins and ends with churches associated with St Hild herself, a traditional way of setting out on and completing a pilgrimage at a sacred site.

"But the journey also embraces the many contrasting natural and human environments of this stretch of coastline, and helps us understand the long history of these landscapes both before and since Hild’s time”.