There’s a beautiful country walk from Dod Lane, just a couple of minutes from the top of Glastonbury High Street to the Tor and back. It takes in Bushy Coombe (the site of the May Pole celebration on the first of May each year), the White Spring, Chalice Well, the Rifleman’s Arms and the Rural Life Museum. Assuming you don’t stop (which would be a bit silly!) the whole walk would take about 40 minutes, but if you take in all the attractions it could keep you happily entertained for the best part of a day. The walk takes in some particularly lovely trees, now much as I like trees I’m not so great at identifying them, so I asked my friend Matt Witt to be your guide. In fact, Matt Witt could very literally be your guide, as he organizes regular Tree Walks around the local area, or you could hire him to take you on a personalized tour. Matt is a congenial and friendly guide, with great arboricultural knowledge, he gives space and time for quiet moments with the trees and will even sing you a song!
The Dod Lane to the Tor Tree Walk by Matt Witt
“Dod Lane follows the energy line of St Mary, past the Shekinashram, up onto Bushy Coombe and Chalice Hill. Through the gate, following the footpath, one encounters a host of trees forming a towering hedgerow on the right. Towards the end of the steep incline an old sycamore, on the right, has started to consume the fence post placed at its feet, she faces the spiralling branches of two venerable oaks perched on the steep bank below.
At the top of Bushy Coombe, across the grass, lives Grandmother Lime, a much visited and venerated tree, she welcomes visitors by laying down a bough allowing us to climb up inside her and is surrounded by a mini woodland.
Pressing on, we pass through the kissing gate in the top corner of the coombe, heading on towards fairy lane. The entrance is marked by a stunning view of the Tor and a perfect photo opportunity. The cosy green hollow is lined by hawthorn, elder, hazel, blackthorn, old field maples, spindle, and a magnificent split ash on the left.
Fairy lane leads into an open field with views of the Tor. Taking a slight detour (it’s worth it) to the top corner of the field, an English oak stands in the hedgerow whose branches reach out horizontally, spiraling and twisting while two of the main trunks fuse to form a distinct Yoni symbol, or portal. I call it the Wiggly Oak.
Either hop over the gate and turn right, then left on to Well House Lane, or else head to the gate at the foot of the field, between the ash trees, and walk up the hill. Pass by the mixed sycamore, Norway and field maples on the left and enjoy the ancient hedgerows that curb the lane, they contain dozens of understory species and trees growing in miniature.
Continue until you reach the gated entrance to the Tor. On your left, you’ll see three beech trees, planted in dedication to the triple goddess Bridget, beneath which stands a mile stone marking 8 miles to Wells. Ring the bell by throwing a stone to announce your arrival.
Walk up the hill, noticing the archway to Avalon Orchard on your left, and enter onto the terraces of the Tor through the kissing gate paying attention to the row of hawthorn straight ahead, what was likely a hedgerow allowed to grow out, and the interesting collection of privet, hazel, spindle and wayfaring tree on your right as you round the corner.
Ascend the Tor”.
And Home Again…..
After taking in the view and the vibes, you can then come down the path on the other side of the Tor, with a tiny detour up the hill to the White Springs. the, it’s a short walk along Chilkwell Street that takes you past Chalice Well with its healing pools, beautiful gardens and historical well head, the atmospheric medieval Rifleman’s Arms, the revamped Rural Life Museum and then back to Dod Lane.
Why not stay at One Dod Lane Bed & Breakfast (managed by yours truly) for a sound night’s sleep in our comfortable rooms? It’s the ideal location for visiting Glastonbury Town or the wonderful countryside.
Photos copyright Vicki Steward.
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