Note that all maps on this site are only
indicative. You should never set out without the correct OS map.
The Somerset Levels are magnificent sight from the 518-foot summit
of Glastonbury Tor, which is a sort of island set in the middle
of the great swathe.
There's an official town trail and you can buy a leaflet describing
it from the Tourist Information Centre. The leaflet is crammed with
information dealing with the long and interesting history of places
you'll see in town, but it doesn't take you up to the Tor - so I've
adapted the walk to allow you to make that grand ascent.
Moreover, the official route takes all sorts of detours so that,
for instance, you can - if you really want - take a peek at the
19th century police station. You can also go down Grope Lane if
you have the desire or inclination.
Recommended map: Ordnance Survey Explorer 141.
Distance and going: Three-and-a-half miles, steep
section up the Tor itself.This walk begins outside the Abbey Gatehouse
in Glastonbury's Magdelene Street. It's an easy enough place to
find and you can visit the famous abbey if you've the time. We're
off to the High Street though, which you'll see swinging right up
the hill just a hundred yards away by Market Place.
Pick up a copy of the Glastonbury Town Trail leaflet (30 pence)
from the TIC at The Tribunal, 9 High Street, Glastonbury. Tel: 01458
This is one of the Westcountry's great
main streets - and certainly one of its most eccentric, if the names
of the shops are anything to go by. The Psychic Piglet Incorporating
the Golden Bough sounded good. Crystal This, Mystic That, New Age
Everything Your Karma Can Imagine. You name it, Glastonbury's got
it with bells on. Or bongos. Or didgeridoos. At the top of the High
Street, Bove Town continues on up the hill and this road you must
ascend until it renames itself Wick Hollow.
And hollow it is. Here the lane climbs through a small ravine
that looks as if it's either been an ancient quarry, or otherwise
has been worn down by the feet of pilgrims who have been coming
to town for centuries. At the top turn into Bulwarks Lane and proceed
south to Lypyatt Lane before turning sharp left into Wellhouse Lane.
Now we're out of the confines of the town and on
the northern flanks of the Tor itself. After a few hundred yards
Wellhouse widens to allow visitors to park their cars and a stile
on the right introduces one and all to one of the National Trust's
most celebrated mounds.
It's a steep five or ten minute climb to the top of the Tor. A
concrete path has been laid all the way to the summit in an attempt
to stop erosion, so best keep to it and on the way you can mull
over some of the many fanciful theories that seem to attach themselves
to this magnificent hillock.
Here's a couple I heard in town: "When finally you have made
it to the top, the magnetic energies open your crown chakra," said
one leaflet. "Then slowly filter down through the rest of your chakra
system. Your feel empowered. The energies of King Arthur come to
you. He brings you the Holy Grail!"
"Situated on a major acupuncture point of the
Earth body, Glastonbury is one of the most powerful energy centres
on the planet," claimed another. "Prophecies have foreseen it playing
an important role in the New Age. The entire area around this small
town in Somerset has a very holy vibration."
At the summit there is, of course, the hollow 15th-century tower
that is visible from more than half of Somerset. It is all that
remains of the church (or churches, there were two) of St Michael.
Somehow the Tor does manage to drip with mystery and legend. It
is supposed to be home of Gwyn ap Nudd, Lord of the Underworld,
and a place where fairies live.
After taking in the view, it's simply a matter of descending back
to Wellhouse Lane and continuing down it to Chilkwell Street, which
will lead you back to the town centre.