The Arthurian Trail to Glastonbury
Late in the day, the rain finally quit and the sun broke through the clouds here and there, so off I went to see if I could see any of the sights in Glastonbury that I wanted to see. It was already 5 pm, so I wasn't expecting anything more than doing a little bit of drive-by sightseeing. As I left Wells, Glastonbury Tor was visible on the horizon. It really stands out as a beacon across the landscape.
I drove around the perimeter of the Tor and parked along this lane where I had a lovely view.
The footpath to the Tor was well marked. I was glad that it was paved, as everything was still quite soggy from the rain!
There were lots of sheep grazing on the Tor! I learned later that there is a conservation program in place to keep sheep on the Tor. They eat the grass and help keep trees from overtaking it, thus keeping it green and clear.
Around every corner of the path there was a lovely view of the surrounding countryside. Here the path follows one of the terraces around for a short distance.
There were steps to climb
Lots and lots of steps! Thankfully they were not nearly so steep as those at Tintagel!
And with perseverance, the top is reached at last!
Inside the tower is open to the sky above. Somehow, I felt the tower needed something. It was so empty, as though all the life had gone out of it. And yet at the same time, the top of the Tor was an amazing place. To stand there looking out across the land was amazing. It was easy to see how nearly two thousand years ago when the sea surrounded the Tor and surrounding area (including the area where Glastonbury Abbey sits) that this really could have been the legendary Avalon, the hidden isle.
Here I am on top of the Tor with the doorway of St. Michael's tower behind me.
As I was preparing to leave, a shepherd came up the Tor. "Come on girls!" he called, and the sheep of his flock that had been grazing the Tor that day all went running to him! It brought to mind the passage of scripture about the Good Shepherd.
The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.John 10:3,4
And so, with that in my mind, I left the Tor and headed into the town of Glastonbury.
How pleased I was to discover that the Abbey ruins were open late! It meant that I got to see them and to walk around the ruins, virtually in solitude.
There were signs of life everywhere ~ plants growing on top of the high walls, or blooming from the parapets.
The surviving carvings were intricate and amazing!
This tree is known as the Joseph tree. Legend tells that Joseph of Arimathia (the same one who provided the tomb for Jesus burial) visited the British Isles after Jesus death on the cross and brought Christianity to Britain. It is said that he stuck his staff of thorn into the ground where he would plant his church and that the staff grew into a tree. This tree is said to be descended from that very tree.
As evening fell, I stood at the far end of the church, trying to take in the scale of what this church must have been like when it was all standing. The fenced off area in the foreground is where the Altar of the church once was. Beyond that is a small signpost. In this spot, it is said that King Arthur and Guinevere are buried here.