Walk 2201 - printer friendly version
Historic Wells Circular Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 1.5 miles / 2.4 km
Ascent - 0 feet / 0 metres
Grade - easy
Start - OS grid reference ST546456
Lat 51.207793 + Long -2.6512766
Postcode BA5 2AW (approx. location only)
Wells is England's smallest City. Dominated by a beautiful Cathedral, it provides the basis for an excellent short stroll. After parking make your way to St Cuthbert's (grid ref. ST546456), the largest Parish Church in Somerset, which is easily located as its tower dominates the skyline from most of the public car parks. From here head roughly north east along the High Street to reach the Market Place, which has a pleasant selection of period buildings.
Go through the Bishop's Eye an imposing gateway that leads directly to the moat surrounding the ruined Bishop's Palace. The walls and moat were built when serious tension between the Bishop and the City made fortification a necessity. Follow the path alongside the moat to reach its southern corner. From here there are good views across lowland Somerset to Glastonbury. This point is also the start of an 8 mile walk to the "Tor".
Retrace your steps to the Bishop's Eye and turn right into the Market Place and right again through Penniless Porch to exit onto the Cathedral Green. It is hard not to be impressed with the Cathedral and its beautiful west front. Begun in 1180, the Cathedral was consecrated in 1239 but had not been completed. The exquisite statuary on the west front dates from 1240-1260 but it was not until 1508 that the cathedral and cloisters were complete with Black Death of 1348 seriously interrupting construction. A visit to the Cathedral is very worthwhile with its interior as magnificent as its exterior.
Continue north across the Cathedral Green and turn right along the road. A little way under the archway over the road turn left into Vicar's Close. Built in 1363 the houses accommodated the men of the choir. Originally there were 42 bachelor dwellings but some were later rebuilt into larger dwellings. Vicar's Close is reputed to be Europe's most complete medieval street and the two rows of chimneys provide memorable visual impact. Retrace your route back to the Market Place taking time to study the Cathedral from the far side of the Green.
The stroll detailed above does not include every building or item of interest in this beautiful Cathedral City. For more information visit the Tourist Information Office, which is situated in the Town Hall on the south side of the Market Place.