The Glastonbury Way
The Glastonbury Way walk and pilgrimage route has been created thanks to local collaboration and Town Deal Accelerator Funding
£45,000 from the Town Deal Accelerator Fund was used for:
- Creating the 7.5 mile Glastonbury Way circular walk
- New and improved paths, surfaces, fencing and gates for safer and easier access
- Clearing overgrowth and tree works
- Informative interpretation boards
- Fresh signage, an app, map and marketing materials
Key achievements and benefits delivered:
- Creation of new visitor attraction of regional and national significance
- Links places of pilgrimage and history, countryside, the town centre and Glastonbury Information Centre
- Improved and safer access with new surfaces, fencing and gates
- Farmland rights of way improved by addition of a permissive path
- Clearer signs and waymarkers to national standards
- Bespoke benches and interpretation boards at key points
- Digital and print material to guide visitors and publicise the project
- Offers benefits for health and wellbeing
- Brings together the town's history, heritage and spirituality
- Increased profile for Glastonbury Information Centre (incorporating the Pilgrims Reception Centre, Tourist Information Centre and Town Council front office) as a centre of knowledge and information for the town
The Glastonbury Way has been created so that locals, pilgrims and visitors alike can embrace the town's outstanding natural environment, history, religious sites, myth and legends, all in one single route. It is already proving to be a popular attraction.
Starting at the Glastonbury Information Centre, the route brings together the Ordnance Survey circular walk around Glastonbury with the Pilgrims Way, including each of the local Pilgrimage sites, the town centre and some of the best views of the surrounding countryside. It combines ancient rights of way, lanes, permissive paths and roads to create a 7.5 mile walk that can be completed as a whole or in sections.
Where possible, existing rights of way were used and paths were cleared and upgraded. Specialist gates and kissing gates replaced stiles to improve the accessibility and safety, and additional fencing was installed to separate people from cattle.
Clear signage and beautifully designed detailed interpretation boards line the route, with benches providing welcome opportunities for walkers to stop, rest and admire the views.
A free digital app and printed map are available to guide walkers along The Glastonbury Way, providing useful and interesting insight throughout the 7.5 mile route.
The Glastonbury Way project benefited greatly from the expertise and support of many local craftspeople, businesses and other local residents. It could not have been completed without the considerable input of a core team of volunteers, who provided 1,300 hours of in-kind support for the project.
How was this funded?
The £45,000 cost of the project was financed by the government through the Town Deal Accelerator Fund.
This investment was provided as a result of a successful bid last year from the Glastonbury Town Deal that resulted in an early release of £500k of the Towns Fund money. 'Accelerator' Funding was made available to all the 101 towns selected by the government to work towards a Town Deal, for investment in capital projects that would have an immediate impact and help places 'build back better' in the wake of COVID-19.
The overall value of The Glastonbury Way project, however, is far in excess of its expenditure thanks to considerable input from the local community. Representatives of the Glastonbury Conservation Society and the Glaston Centre's Glaston Centre worked closely with councillors and Town Deal board members, while other volunteers and local businesses kindly gave their time and expertise to support the project.
Why was this work required?
Combining the Ordnance Survey circular walk around Glastonbury with the Pilgrims Way provides an attractive new route for residents and visitors to enjoy, bringing together the natural environment, history, spirituality, myth and legend that make the town unique.
The new walk also provides added health and wellbeing opportunities for the local community.
Creating one new permissive path solved a long-term issue with a right of way across farmland, while improvements to infrastructure provide a safer, more accessible and more appealing route.
The new 7.5 mile walk, which can be walked in one day or in sections, is expected to encourage more visitors into the area, providing a boost for the local economy.
What are the benefits for the local community?
The Glastonbury Way enables locals and tourists to take in the stunning views, historic sites and places of pilgrimage that the town has to offer, all brought together in a single, inclusive trail.
The route embraces multiple layers of interest, including nature, history and spirituality, so walkers can enjoy Glastonbury's diverse and dynamic culture as a whole, or pick out specific areas of focus.
The 7.5 mile circular route provides opportunities for healthy exercise in beautiful countryside, whether during one long walk or several shorter strolls. As well as the obvious physical health benefits, The Glastonbury Way offers opportunities for improved mental health and spiritual awareness.
Extensive improvements have been made to an existing network of rights of way, permissive paths, green lanes, roads and quiet lanes. Accessible gates, better surfaces, clearly visible signs and the use of yellow colour on gates and waymarkers, as per national standards, have improved overall accessibility.*
The new map, free app and information boards make it easy for walkers to see and learn about the town's unique history, mythology, spirituality and legend while admiring the surrounding countryside, providing an immersive experience for all.
It is yet another resource and reason for tourists to visit Glastonbury, learning about and experiencing the town's rich history and heritage, which in turn brings economic benefits for the area.
*It is worth noting that although the physical access has been greatly improved, the hills of Glastonbury and the off-road nature of much of the Glastonbury Way means that wheelchair access remains a challenge on some of the route.
Who was involved?
This project is testament to an inspiring collaboration between the Glastonbury Conservation Society and the Glaston Centre. Together they agreed and developed the route, bringing in features of particular interest to both parties, combined with the best of Glastonbury's magnificent natural landscape.
Local businesses were chosen for the contracting and design work, where possible. Among those involved in The Glastonbury Way project were:
- Bannell Engineering
- Blue Cedar Print Works
- Glastonbury Reclamation
- Lovell Stone
- Mark Howden
- MRA Rousell
- Sign and Design
- Young Rascal Design Studio
Other partners consulted about The Glastonbury Way were landowners (including farmers, smallholders and National Trust), Somerset County Council for rights of way and the Environment Agency for riverbanks.
The Glastonbury Way images, photo credit Jason Bryant