Now that it at last seems like Spring has finally sprung, I thought I might take a quick moment to tell you about a gorgeous excursion that would serve as the perfect break for those of you who are, like me, scribbling dissertations like mad right now. Take a beautiful, refreshing and oh-so-needed trip to Glastonbury Tor and leave with (hopefully) clear minds ready to return to the depths of the library for another night.
Just an hour away from Bristol along the A37/A39 (or hop on a train to Castle Cary), the impressive sight of the 158m conical hill with its 15th Century Church tower looming on top is visible from miles around. It reminded me a lot of Bilbo's approach to the Lonely Mountain and I found myself half-hoping that some helpful eagles might swoop by and drop me at the top of the seemingly impossible height that I could see emerging from the otherwise flat levels of Somerset (I've been watching the Hobbit lately. Can you tell?).
Walk/Trot/Plod up the steps to the top of the hill, because although for the less fit of us it may seem like a bit of a trek, the views from the summit are absolutely worth it. You can see the beautiful colours of the Somerset Levels, over to Dorset, Wiltshire and Wales. You can also catch a glimpse of the Bristol Channel and over to the Mendips. A superb sight by all accounts!
It's no wonder that the place is spiritually significant for many. Iron age remains have been unearthed here, and it has been suggested that it was once the site of Saxon fortress. Despite the conical shape of the hill being a natural feature, the maze of hillside terracing winding its way up the tor dates to Neolithic times, adding to the site's perceived significance. Others link the site to celtic mythology and neopagan lore, citing tales of King Arthur, The Holy Grail and the Mother Goddess. For this reason do not be surprised if you see some folk practicing Ti-Chi on the summit, meditating or practicing their Tibetan Singing Bowl skills (I have to admit, the guy clanging jarringly loudly on his prayer bowl when we were there clearly needed the practice. It was NOT a relaxing sound).
Sit in the shade of the Tower of the Church of St. Michael, admire the views, and wait for the sunset. From your vantage spot it will be a sight to behold. And if you get chilly or in need of a pick me up, pop into the nearby Rifleman's Arms for a beer.
Opening Times: Open all year round
Bring with you: A flask of coffee (always bring this wherever you go I think), A book, A camera, A Tibetan Prayer Bowl (IF YOU ARE GOOD AT IT. Otherwise, seriously, leave it at home.)
Address: Glastonbury Tor, Off Wellhouse Lane, Nr. Glastonbury, Somerset.