Today we travel south of the city to see a selection of sites in the Mendips.
Leave the city via the lower Bristol Road until we reach the the Globe at Newnton St Loe. Here we take the A39 and head for Wells and Wells Cathedral The ‘village’ of Wells is only a ‘city’ because of its cathedral and, like neighbouring Glastonbury, packs an enormous punch for so small a town. The cathedral has had periods of great contrast; intense activity, vigorous building programmes, and periods of neglect and decay. Some of the master masons of the day were visionaries in their own right and were far ahead of their time. The original building was built between 1180 and 1320 and was granted cathedral status in 1245. After a quick stroll around the city our next stop is Glastonbury.
Follow the A39 out of Wells heading for the Isle of Avalon and Glastonbury. Built on a former island in the Somerset marshes, it’s a lively town with a long history and rich traditions. Once a megalithic centre, a place of the Goddess and a Druid college, its medieval abbey became a famous pilgrimage place. The Abbey is set in 37 acres of beautifully peaceful parkland in the centre of the ancient market town of Glastonbury. Site of an original church from around 60 a.d. the abbey grew to become one of the second wealthiest in the nation to finally fall during the dissolution of the monastries in the 1500’s.
For the pilgrim the landscape of Avalon is a treasure trove where sacred sites abound. The most obvious to the visitor is Glastonbury Tor which can be seen from a great distance rising enigmatically above the flat Summerland meadows. Now is a good time to have lunch before resuming ones travels in the afternoon.
We now retrace our steps back towards Wells before taking the A371 to visit Wookey Holes famous for both its papermills and underground caves. A cave tour matches breathtaking underground scenery, carved out by the mysterious River Axe, with a delightful mix of fact, legend and folklore, including the story of the famous witch. The River Axe first powered the papermill in Shakespeare’s day; after 400 years the papermill still produces fine hand-made paper in the age-old way.
We now continue along the A371 heading towards the world famous Cheddar Gorge. A major tourist attraction for over 200 years, with plenty to do above and below ground. A large selection of caves are open to the public and there are a number of walks above ground. While in Cheddar you could also visit the Cheddar Gorge Cheese company.
It is now time to return to the Windsor Hotel and you should drive towards the A38 and take the road towards Bristol before turning onto the A368 heading towards Blagdon. This is a pleasant drive through the valley passing y and purchase some of the famous “Cheddar Cheese”. The company won the London International Cheese and Dairy competition “Gold” Award in 1999 its cheese was the Supreme Champion at the British Cheese Awards. The year 2000 has seen Cheddar Gorge Cheese win Gold at the World Cheese Awards and take first prize at the Devon County Show.
Blagdon and Chew Valley Lakes. The road finally comes to the Globe at Newton St Loe, your original starting point and it is now a 15 to 20 minutes drive back to the Hotel.