Travelling to St. Davids
Pilgrims walked along the well trodden paths to St. Davids.
On their journey they visited other sacred sites, including holy wells, churches
and Celtic Crosses.
Many places associated with early pilgrimage can still be seen in Wales. Many pilgrims rested at Nevern for the night. Close to the church there is a cross cut into the woodland stone. Here many pilgrims prayed to God. Some were so exhausted they died and were buried in unmarked graves.
As well as travelling by road, pilgrims also sailed across the sea from Ireland, Cornwall, Brittany (in France) and Rome. They travelled in tiny boats - either coracles or Irish curraghs (boats similar to coracles but a little bigger). The coracles would have been made from wood.
The wooden frame of the coracle would then have been covered in animal hides. These would also make the small boats waterproof.
The boats were so light they could be carried on a mans back.
These type of boats can still be seen in Wales today!
They are used on the River Teifi for salmon fishing.
The Welsh word for port is porth. The sea travellers
of long ago would have landed in the once busy ports of:
Porth Mawr (Whitesands),
Porth Stinan (St. Justinians, where there is now a lifeboat station),
St. Nons and
Porth Clais (which is the nearest port to the monastery and the place where David was baptised).
So many pilgrims came to St. Davids that little churches were
built around the ports. Once the pilgrims had landed at the ports,
they would get out of their tiny coracles and gone to one of the chapels to give prayers of thanks for their safe journey.