Chalice Well and Gardens
Chalice Well and Gardens
Near the base of Glastonbury Tor, on the southern slope of the hill, a small chalybeate spring rises to the surface. Near the head of the spring is a well, cut 9 feet down into the earth, protected by a wooden well-head, itself reinforced with a fanciful pattern of wrought-iron braces that form a distinctive shape. The well is built with stone blocks lining the sides of two chambers.

Though it looks ancient the well-head and its striking pattern were made in 1919. The well itself, however, has a history much longer and more fascinating. Chalice Well, with its iron-rich water, was a considered a holy place long before Glastonbury itself became associated with the legend of Joseph of Arimathea and the Holy Grail.

The spring that feeds Chalice Well has a flow of some 25,000 gallons of water each day. Some of that water is channelled underground to a series of shallow pools, or baths, further down the hillside.

It is romantic to think that the well was somehow associated with Joseph of Arimathea or the legends of the Holy Grail that cling to Glastonbury, but there is no proof of any link. Nor, to be fair, is there really any proof that such legends are phantasy, so you'll have to decide for yourself!

The well
Chalice Well

Visiting Chalice Well

The entrance the Chalice Well site is at the base of the Tor, just a few steps from the National Trust trail that leads up the side of the Tor to the medieval tower of St Michael. Though the road past the foot of the Tor is quite busy, it is remarkable how quickly the sound of traffic fades away as you enter the walled garden.

This is an area of peace and calm, a garden meant to be savoured and enjoyed at leisure, definitely not an 'attraction' to be visited in a rush. I've visited now on three occasions, and each time came away with a sense of peace and calm.

The garden is delightful as a small garden in its own horticultural right, but there is a certain something, an indefinable air of something wonderful that clings to this peaceful oasis.