Walk 1212 - printer friendly version
Glastonbury Tor Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 2.5 miles / 4.1 km
Ascent - 430 feet / 130 metres
Grade - easy
Start - OS grid reference ST499389
Lat 51.147157 + Long -2.7176149
Postcode BA6 9DU (approx. location only)
Glastonbury is a small market town with a unique heritage dominated by the "Tor", which can been seen from many miles across the Somerset Levels. St. Dunstan began building a new Abbey in 950 AD and this was based around an earlier wooden church. By the Middle Ages this had become the great Benedictine Abbey the remains of which can be seen today. Glastonbury was one of the wealthiest Abbeys in the land, its Abbot playing a major part in the ruling of England. This great monastery drew pilgrims from all corners of the kingdom and helped ensure that Glastonbury became a thriving town. The Abbey was closed as a result of the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. The lead was stripped from the roofs and the buildings were left to decay.
The factual history of Glastonbury sits alongside the myths of Avalon with its links to King Arthur. More recently Glastonbury has reinforced its reputation as a special earth-sacred site where many leys meet, come together and diverge, connecting with the other power centres of the world. It is this complex mix of Christian and Pagan myths that provide the town with its unique character.
This walk starts opposite the Tourist Information Centre (grid ref ST499389) at the western end of the High Street. The Abbey is open for visitors and this can be visited either before or after completing the walk although there is admission charge. From the TIC go up High Street in an easterly direction towards the Tor. Turn right onto Wells Road and follow this to Chilkwell Street (A361). Turn left along the A361 for a short way before taking the signed footpath to the summit of the Tor. On a fine day the views are extensive from the Mendips in the north to the Quantocks in the south with the Somerset Levels forming a patchwork of fields stretching to the Bristol Channel. You can either return by the same route or alternatively you can continue north-east off the Tor and return by lanes and footpaths to the centre of Glastonbury.