Glastonbury & Its Environment
This page gives details of our THREE DAY TOUR of Glastonbury and its environs.
The strange and uniquely shaped Tor that stands as a landmark for miles, dominates the small town and posits many questions. One aspect that most people seem to have agreed upon is that the Tor is one of those liminal places where we can feel in a slightly 'altered' state. The sky seems a little bluer, the grass a little greener and the song of the birds more poignant.
Glastonbury [map] has many legends - The Holy Thorn tree on Wearyall Hill was said to have sprung from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea, who also built Britain's first church on the site of the Lady Chapel in Glastonbury Abbey grounds. The Holy Grail was secreted in the Chalice Well and even if not literally true, sitting by the well can trigger an understanding of this symbolism. The ancient oaks, Gog and Magog, were part of an ancient Druid processional way, stretching to the Tor and King Arthur was said to have returned to Glastonbury at the end of his life, to rest in the eternal Avalon.
Chalice Well is a powerful place of spiritual healing, set in a beautiful garden.
Glastonbury Abbey is also reputed to be the last resting place of King Arthur.
On our first day together, Secret Landscape Tours takes you to these special places, as well as to the site of the ancient Chapel of St Brigit and, tucked away in an alley in the town, the marvellously healing Magdaline Chapel.
On our second day we explore the enigmatic country that surrounds Glastonbury. It is difficult to unlock the secrets of Glastonbury unless we also have an understanding of the surrounding landscape.
We visit Compton Dundon Beacon, an important ancient hill-fort and temple site.
Whilst in the village we visit the thousand year-old Yew tree, quietly brooding in the churchyard. From Compton Dundon, we go to the enigmatic and haunted Burrowbridge Mump. Like the Tor, the Mump is topped by the ruins of a Church of St Michael.
After lunch we move on to Shapwick Heath, the tribal homeland of Neolithic man 6000 years ago. This is a truly atmospheric landscape, a wilderness of reed beds and open water where the earliest track way in Britain, the Sweet Track was discovered. Dating from 3,800 B.C. and now re-covered with peat to preserve it, we can walk along part of its route through a landscape little-changed from those early times.
We travel onwards to finish the day at evocative Nyland Hill, a fairy hill set between the moors and the Mendip Hills.
Our third and last day is spent visiting some very powerful sites on the Mendip Hills. On Pen Hill, a few miles from the cathedral city of Wells, we see the remains of a Neolithic long barrow. We have a stupendous view of Glastonbury Tor from here and of the beautiful country that surrounds it. We move on to the small village of Priddy, where an annual sheep sale and gypsy horse fair is held.
At the edge of the village lies evocative Priddy Pool, a place which feels very 'fae'. Upwards now, to a hill top rising above the village. Here we find many tumuli, including the late Neolithic Priddy Nine Barrows, a few more scattered tumuli and a curving row of 10 Bronze Age round barrows. This is the largest concentration of burial sites in the area.
After lunch we drive to the wonderful wooded valley of Burrington Combe where we see the Rock of Ages, which inspired the hymn of the same name. We walk to Aveline's Hole, a deep fissure in the rocks where many human bones were found; a Mesolithic graveyard. A cairn and tumulus are situated close-by.
Many people think that the last site we visit, the late Neolithic stone circle complex of Stanton Drew, is equal in importance to Avebury and Stonehenge. A recent discovery here, within the largest circle, was the remains of a highly elaborate pattern of burial pits. This is a hugely important site and seems a fitting end to our adventures of the last three days.
Don't forget you will be arriving at your bed and breakfast accommodation the evening before the start day.
We will be based for three nights in comfortable bed and breakfast accommodation in Glastonbury. We will send you accommodation details prior to your departure.
Car - From London, go west to M3 (motorway) and exit at junction 8 for A303 and Andover. Stay on A303 for approx 50 miles and turn off at the Podimore roundabout and follow signs for Langport (A372 for 1 mile then right-hand turn to B3151, signed Street where you will see signs to nearby Glastonbury.)
Train - From London Paddington station, catch train going west (Devon and/or Cornwall) and get off after approx 1hr 40 mins at Castle Cary. From here you can catch a cab for the short distance to Glastonbury (£20) or via prior arrangement and a small fee, we can pick you up and take you to your accommodation. Train times can be accessed via the National Rail website.
Coach - You can catch a coach to Glastonbury from London Victoria Coach station. This leaves London Victoria Coach Station at approx. 7pm and gets into Glastonbury at approx 10.20 pm. Check coaches and times via the National Express website.
To book this tour, please advise us of your preferred location & dates and check availability using our contact form.