DORSET'S only resident bishop has invited parishioners of all backgrounds to join her on a pilgrimage to one of the county's most historic areas.

The Rt Revd Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne, leads the pilgrimage on Thursday, May 25 - as part of the feast of the Ascension in the Christian calendar - to the Norman chapel of St Aldhelm near Worth Matravers.

May 25 is also the traditional holy day of St Aldhelm in the church calendar.

The event forms part of a national period of prayer as organised by the Archbishop of Canterbury called Thy Kingdom Come, which runs from May 25-June 4, Pentecost Sunday.

The Rt Revd Karen Gorham said: “Tiny St Aldhelm’s is a very special place, perched on top of high cliffs, and accessible only on foot. It is a thin place where it is easy to feel the gap between heaven and earth narrowing.

“We’ll walk the mile or so from the car park together and then have a short act of worship at the chapel. This will be part of Thy Kingdom Come, a great wave of prayer taking place across England and beyond.

“Please bring a picnic – we'll share one on the cliffs if the weather permits, and at St Nicholas’s in Worth Matravers if the weather is typically English.

“The pilgrimage is open to everyone, whatever their religious views. Many people, whether or not they are churchgoers, visit places of spiritual interest and sometimes discover a little piece of heaven.

“St Aldhelm was the first Bishop of Sherborne, so I am his direct successor – I was made a bishop 1,311 years after he was.

“I am keen to promote pilgrimage in Dorset. The county’s many chapels, shrines and holy wells allow people to touch the transcendent right here on our own doorstep.”

Pilgrims should assemble before 10.30 am at the Renscombe Farm car park. A rugged pathway leads for 1.5miles to St Aldhelm’s Chapel. Dogs are welcome on the walk and in the chapel. An all-terrain coach will be available for those with limited mobility.