“The path is short but the way is deep”

Furness Abbey - Millwood - Dalton Parish Church 

SongPath 2023 takes part of the Cistercian Way as its inspiration to explore the routes and roots of Old Furness. 

The event will be free for all but pre-registration online will be essential as numbers will be limited. Pre-registration will be via Eventbrite from 1st July. 

We continue to invite donations to Mind in Furness & Ulverston Mind. Our Virgin Money Giving Page will open again in 2022. 

We begin at Furness Abbey, thinking about the power of place, the natural symbolism of valleys, how the medieval Cistercians approached mental health & how heritage can heal us.


There will be a professional choir bringing the abbey back to life with period Cistercian music & Hildegard chant, a medieval trumpeter & other instrumentalists, as well as folk musicians, mental health speakers, a current-day Cistercian, an expert on the natural inspirations of medieval abbey architecture and an artist specialising in illuminated manuscripts.


We’ll also think about the personal histories associated with the abbey, its continuing role as an emotional & spiritual touchstone for the local community & in so doing we’ll produce with songwriter Mary Dunsford - Musician a new Furness Abbey Folk Song based on memories collected by Furness Abbey Fellowship member, Gary Cunliffe.


The core group of Jess Dandy, ContraltoMartin Roscoe pianist & Rufus Harrington cognitive behavioural psychotherapist remains the same throughout the day. The SongPath piano will return in its diminutive glory. Community groups, choirs & the Mind choir will again be involved as we make our way back into the deep time of our local sandstone geology, and ‘step into the story’ of Old Furness, as English Heritage so beguilingly puts it. 

Next we’ll make our way down into Millwood, exploring through music & dance the folkloric forest beliefs of those who came before the Cistercians, thinking about the therapeutic effects of exercising the imagination & spending time amongst trees, & learning from the beautiful mutualism of the wood wide web. 

From there, we’ll walk to Dalton. On the way, Barrow’s Beautiful Places founder Helen Wall will tell us about the local icon & weather forecaster, Black Combe & we’ll have some singalong walking songs for all to enjoy. 

At St Mary's Church, Dalton-in-Furness, their Reverend Ruth Crossley will speak about her approach to mental health, and we’ll be led in meditation by one of the practitioners of the church’s Christian meditation group. A more conventional concert with the theme of ‘Music as Medicine’ will end the day, with a significant contribution from Martin Roscoe, Jess & the SongPath choir, as well as other local musicians & community choirs. The day will culminate in the communal singing of the SongPath anthem. 

As with our 2019 event, stewarding and refreshments will be provided by Rotary & Inner Wheel respectively.