A Guide to Cyclist Friendly Glastonbury
The area around Glastonbury has a lot to offer the two wheeled traveller, whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or contemplating getting back on the saddle for the first time in decades. In my opinion there isn’t a better way to enjoy the local area than from a bike, you see more, discover more, get fitter and you are making the most sustainable travel choice there is. It’s not surprising that Glastonbury already attracts touring cyclists, we’re on EV1 – the EuroVelo cycle route (11,000km Atlantic Coast Route)
I love cycling, but I don’t generally love hills, luckily Glastonbury is on the Somerset Levels – 650 km2 of beautiful, mainly flat, coastal plain. Here you can enjoy wetlands, wildlife, willows, rivers, canal side cycle paths, peat works, nature reserves, cider farms, rural crafts, farm shops, pubs, cafes, history, biodiversity, birdwatching, bronze age causeways, sites of scientific interest and more!
Parking Your Bike in Town
If I’m visiting local hospitality I like to be able to park my bike securely, preferably where I can see it, so I tend to frequent those places that have made an effort by at least providing cycle parking.
There are a couple of cycle stands on the Market Place, so most cyclists passing through the town tend to use the cafes or pubs within sight of these : Heaphy’s, the Mocha Berry, the Crown and the King William.
There are also bike stands in the middle of the High Street, convenient for the Co-op and if you head down Church Walk towards St John’s Car Park you’ll find some there too, but they are rather tucked away and not much used.
Glastonbury Abbey has a cycle rack
Next to Glastonbury Information Centre you’ll find some lockers that are ideal for stashing your kit. The Information Centre were hiring out (non electric) bikes pre Covid, these have not yet returned
The Red Brick Building on the outskirts of Glastonbury towards Street has a cycle rack outside, ideal if you’re going for a meal, drink or attending one of their exhibitions, events or gigs.
The Rural Life Museum does have lots of interesting exhibitions and a cafe, but it doesn’t have a cycle rack. I rang them and they told me cyclists can ask to bring their bikes into the central courtyard. I suggested that a bike rack might be more convenient and they said they didn’t get many cyclist visitors. I asked if they thought that might be explained by the lack of facilities. Anyway, I’ve now emailed them and suggested they get a bike rack, so let’s see what happens!
Glastonbury doesn’t have a dedicated bike shop at the moment sadly, but Lintells Garage on Wells Road have a few of the essentials like inner tubes and cables, there’s Halfords or Bike City in Wells.
Local Cycle Routes
My suggested cycle route that takes in lots of free activities on the Levels around Glastonbury, including 3 nature reserves, Land’s End Cider Farm and the Avalon Marshes Centre. I’ve also added my favourite cafes and pubs on the route.
A number of cycle routes exist on the Levels including the Withy Way Cycle Route (22 mi or 35 km), Avalon Marshes Cycle Route (28 mi or 45 km), Peat Moors Cycle Route (24 mi or 39 km) and the Isle Valley Cycle Route (28 mi or 45 km).The River Parrett Trail (47 mi or 76 km) and Monarch’s Way long-distance footpaths are also within the area.
You can download a handy pdf showing these routes from this link.
Call of the Hills
If you do fancy tackling some hilly areas on a non electric bike I really recommend taking a few spin classes first. I did weekly classes at Tor Leisure about 3 years ago, I’m not going to pretend they weren’t tortuous at the time, but the endorphin hit was amazing and I suddenly found myself not only sailing up the few steep hills we have round here, but actually loving it! If you love hills there are the Poldens and the Mendip Hills to explore.
Glastonbury Cycle Group
For locals there is a Glastonbury Cycle Group who organise occasional rides out.
Are you holidaying in Glastonbury, Wells, Langport or the surrounding areas of Somerton? Somerton Electric Bike Rental will delivery their hybrid e-bikes to your holiday cottage or campsite to enjoy for a day or more. Just give them a call, text or message on Facebook or Instagram 07394 911276 Instagram: It’s only £25 per bike per day. As they say “It’s a great way to explore the Somerset countryside, while getting a little help on those pesky hills”.
Isle of Avalon Touring Park hire non electric bikes to people staying on their site, currently they only charge £10 a day for a bike and there’s a lovely flat cycle from the campsite through beautiful scenery to the nearby village of Godney for a pint at the excellent Sheppey Inn or some cake at Double Gate Farm tearoom.
Glastonbury Accommodation that welcomes Cyclists
B&B’s, Hotels and Holiday Cottages
The B&B I manage at One Dod Lane has accommodation for up to 4 cyclists and you can pick our brains on where to go while you’re here. We also have a bike toolkit.
Rie’s Retreat has a lock up shed for cyclists to put their bikes when they arrive, a bike for guests to use during their stay and maps of cycle routes of the area.
A lot of cyclists choose Middlewick Holiday Cottages, they are just off the number 3 Sustrans route, there’s plenty of space for bike storage. There’s a spa where you can get a massage for aching muscles, a cafe and a fully stocked farm shop.
Glastonbury’s Premier Inn has bike parking facilities
Touring and Campsites
The Old Oaks Touring, Camping and Glamping site welcome cyclists, they even have a dedicated page on their website for cyclists and an arrangement with Somerton electric bike hire.
Isle of Avalon Touring Park welcome cyclists and as i said above, have bikes for hire.
Where to Go? Finding Routes
Komoot is a great way to find recommended cycling routes, here are 12 Mountain Bike Trails all within ten miles of Glastonbury, Click here to see them, or take a look at the 433 bike touring routes around Glastonbury
There’s lots of existing routes on Map My Ride.
Personally I would avoid taking the main roads by bike, particularly the A39 towards Wells or the A361 towards Pilton and Shepton Mallet, both of which are fast and dangerous and have no cycle paths. Local campaigners are trying to improve safety and facilities for cyclists locally. The main road to Street however has a path running alongside it. There are cycle paths alongside the town’s bypass.
Stopping Places and Watering Holes
Sweets Tea Rooms near Wedmore is a very popular spot for cyclists and they have a Peat Museum to explore too.
The Avalon Marshes Centre between Westhay and Shapwick, is dedicated to the natural history, biodiversity, archaeology, history, and geology of the area. It also includes reconstructions of some archaeological discoveries of the area, such as a Roman Villa and a Saxon Longhall. There’s a great outdoor cafe there too.
The Sheppey Inn in Godney offers a wide range of ciders, they do good food too, but are very popular so best book in advance if you’re hungry
Beckery Village is a hive of community activity, just a little too far out of town to walk, but ideal for a short cycle. You’ll find The Old Tannery restaurant and bar here in the Red Brick Building which hosts events, exhibitions, craftspeople and more.
What could be better than a cycle ride to a cider farm? Roger Wilkins’ Land’s End Cider Farm is as authentic a Somerset experience as you’ll get!
Thinking of Buying an Electric Bike?
I’ve recently bought myself a new electric bike from Eskute. I’d become a convert to electric bikes after hiring some in Malta on holiday a few years ago. Electric bikes are blooming brilliant! They enable older and less fit cyclists to continue cycling, while younger fitter cyclists can go further, faster! You still get some healthy exercise and it’s more fun. I’d ridden my old shopper one to death and it had got to the point where bits were literally falling off. But finding an upgrade was hard when there’s such a lot of choice. We’ve no local electric bike showrooms nearby and it’s hard to ascertain quality when you only have internet reviews to go by. Fortunately my brother was after one too and he makes braver purchasing decisions than me (he’s not so tight fisted). After a bit of research he ordered himself one online from Eskute. I wasn’t expecting much as it was so much cheaper than a lot of them on offer. When it arrived the Yorkshireman and I grabbed it for test rides and we were both so impressed we immediately ordered one each.
Quick Review of my Eskute Voyager: I ordered on Monday afternoon, delivery was 48 hours later on Wednesday afternoon, just in time for the sun to come out! The bikes require a small amount of assembly, this took about an hour. The frames are all one size but very cleverly designed, by adjusting the seat height the bike can be ridden by me (5’2″) or my six foot tall friend in complete comfort. The build quality is very good, the forks perform well, the gears are smooth, the wheels and tyres are well constructed, the saddle is comfortable, the chain is the only component that I’m tempted to replace. The battery lasts ages (they reckon up to 100km) and takes about 4 hours to recharge fully. The bike gets me up steep hills without much effort at all and the motor is very smooth and quiet. The bike is heavy (25kg) but you are going to pay a LOT more for a light electric bike and when you are riding you don’t feel the weight. The Voyager comes with a kick stand, a very powerful LED front light and mudguards (which I can’t work out how to fit so I’ve left them off). The onboard computer has lots of functions, including a passcode setting. Honestly, I can’t believe what you get for about £850. There’s a city version too with a lower crossbar, a pannier rack and slightly different specs, see the website.
I have no hesitation in recommending Eskute electric bikes, several of my friends have bought them recently on my recommendation and are happily zooming around. Their customer service is quick and friendly. If you buy one after clicking the button below to find out more you get a discount and I earn a commission. I’m not going to write a full review on here, but if you have any questions email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to answer them.
We’ve had them for over a week now, have covered over 100 miles each and we are having so much fun. I like to ride long distances slowly (I desperately want to go to Burnham on Sea on mine) and the Yorkshireman likes to ride short distances very fast. He invited me out for a ride the other evening and I thought we were heading to a scenic spot on the Nature Reserve, instead we ended up in Morrisons Car park where he showed me how tight a turn he could make at 16 miles an hour while shouting ‘wheeeeeeee’. It appears his bike has the power to reverse ageing, he transformed from fifty two to twelve in a matter of minutes.
Update: Eskute were so pleased I like their bikes that they asked me to write an Eskute Ambassador post for their own website, so if you’d like to know more about what we thought of the bikes you can read the article here.
By the way, you might see Cargo Bikes in town from Pure Electric who have their offices on the outskirts of Glastonbury. They are plannng to supply some local businesses with delivery bikes.
Crap Views of The Tor
If you happen to spot any Crap Views of the Tor on your two wheeled travels do send them in to Normal For Glastonbury on Facebook, or post them up yourself on the We Are Normal For Glastonbury Group. You might even like to buy my handy book of Crap Views of the Tor Postcards!
This post combines 3 of my favourite things in life: cycling, photography and mooching about in the countryside.
Nobody has paid me to write this article, I am just recommending places I genuinely think provide a good service to cyclists. If you do buy a bike from Eskute after following my link I do make commission though, so that would be handy! All photos copyright Vicki Steward.
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