Glastonbury Tor is the most visible and iconic symbol of the Somerset Levels. The hill is comparatively high and steep on an otherwise quite flat landscape. It is therefore very visible for miles in nearly every direction and acts as a way marker.
One can only speculate when people first climbed or lived on the top of the Tor. Flint tools have been discovered on the top of the hill. The Glastonbury Lake Villages have some anecdotal evidence that they were used only during the summer months and therefore leads to the assumption that they withdrew back to the site of Glastonbury town.
A saxon church and several buildings were known to have existed on the top. The head of a 10th or 11th century stone wheel cross is now on display at Somerset Museum at Taunton.
The current tower is from a 14th century building dedicated to St Michael and put up by the abbot Adam of Sodbury. At the dissolution of the monasteries, the church was destroyed except for the tower which now has no floors and an open roof. The last Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, Richard Whiting, was hanged, drawn and quartered with two of his monks there at that time.
The Tor is now under the care of the National Trust. Access to it is from one of three points none of which have car parking. You need to walk from the town centre.
- The main one with the least incline is via a path from Coursing Batch.
- There is a path from the northern side on Wellhouse Lane (which have just a few spaces for disabled only car parking).
- Or if you walk along Ashwell Lane turn left at the end and up a steep incline there is a gateway entrance.
The Tor has 360 degree views over all of the levels. It is often a place for people seeking spiritual sanctuary or visited by musicians who may play at the top.
A gallery of images related to the Tor can be viewed here.