Walkers trek from the industrial east to the poetic west of Wales in celebration of the Olympics

Thursday 05 July 2012

Cauldrons & Furnaces, a series of high-profile events being delivered by the Welsh Government to welcome another strand of the Cultural Olympiad, is coming to St Davids. After a 22-day trek across Wales, the pilgrims will be welcomed into the city on Saturday 7 July at 1.30pm with fanfares, music and the artwork created by thousands of children.

Pilgrimage 2012 — Llanthony Priory

Pilgrimage 2012 — Llanthony Priory

The dedicated group of artists and storytellers started their journey at Llanthony Priory, near the border with England, and have passed ancient sites, holy wells and Cadw monuments to arrive at St Davids Bishop’s Palace on Saturday.

This ambitious walk has linked the Cadw sites of Blaenavon Ironworks, Caerphilly, Laugharne and Kidwelly Castles and St Davids Bishop’s Palace. The pilgrims’ arrival in St Davids on 7 July will coincide with a grand celebration and a procession leaving from Oriel y Parc, making its way through the city and ending at the bishop’s palace with a celebration of music, food and dance.

Wishes for Wales is another element of the Cauldrons & Furnaces activity, involving young people from schools across England and Wales, who have been coming to St Davids in west Wales to take part in this creative heritage project.  

Through Wishes for Wales, which is a joint project between Cauldrons & Furnaces and Farms for City Children in Treginnis Isaf, the young people involved are demonstrating what Wales’s history and heritage means to them by hand painting and embellishing in the colours of St Davids (gold, black and white) a ‘golden stone’ with their own design and inscription of a personal message — their wish for Wales — which will then be left in St Davids Bishop’s Palace as part of a Celtic installation. 

Dewi Sant Pilgrimage 2012 is one of eight Cauldrons & Furnaces events, which will tell extraordinary stories in extraordinary places at iconic Cadw sites from 16 June to 17 July. Thousands of young people will be sharing their nation’s colourful history from its mythical beginnings to modern times with visitors from all over the world.  En route they will discover the diversity, skills and talents of the 17,000 young people and artists taking part.

Cauldrons & Furnaces is a partnership between Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, and the Arts Council of Wales. The project is part of Power of the Flame, and has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity which is creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding local talent to inspire creativity across the UK. 

Clare Williams, the creative events programmer of Cauldrons & Furnaces, said: ‘This physical journey across south Wales has been an opportunity for people to come together and appreciate the stunning landscape, as well as connect with nature, heritage and art.  

Continues Clare: ‘The walk will finish on 7 July with a procession through the city, led by creatures associated with St David’s life, a hog roast, banners, bells and drums.  The procession will pass through the cathedral and then into the bishop’s palace for a celebration of music, food and dance.’

Andrew Dugmore, Pilgrimage 2012 guide said: ‘It’s a wonderful opportunity to be recreating this well-known pilgrim route. The journey of 2012 will be something very special as we walk and talk, set up camp together and share meals, as well as offer a song or story to those we meet along the way.  We are very much looking forward to taking this journey and I hope that others will be inspired to follow our tracks. We are delighted to be part of these magnificent Olympic celebrations, it’s a fantastic opportunity for us and all the participants involved.’

Isabelle Hughes (15) from Ysgol Dewi Sant in St Davids said: ‘It’s been really good fun working on the Cauldrons & Furnaces project.  I’ve learnt a lot working with the local artist involved, and it’s great to be part of something bigger and celebrate the Olympics here in West Wales.’

For more information, visit the Pilgrimage 2012 website and to join the walk visit the Ramblers Cymru website

Free entry to St Davids Bishop’s Palace with a wrist band. Available at info@orielyparc.co.uk or phone 01437 720 392.


Cadw has set a challenge for people to attend as many events as possible to be in with a chance of winning one of five Cadw annual family memberships.  For details of how to take part, pick up a Cauldrons & Furnaces leaflet at a participating site. 

For more information about Cauldrons & Furnaces and how you can get involved, visit our Cauldrons and Furnaces page or find Cadw on Facebook or Twitter.

Follow the journey online #CF12