When in Wells, Somerset
Here at Ston Easton Park we like to make the most of our beautiful local area. To help you make the most of your stay in Wells, we’ve put together a handy little guide to the best things to do in Wells. You’re in for a treat…
Wells Moat Walk
The centre of Wells is historic and beautiful and feels as though it has been untouched by the hands of time. In fact, so untouched is the heart of the city that you can still follow the ‘Wells Moat Walk’ a walking trail around the centre of Wells, the map for which was drawn up by William Simes in 1735, almost 400 years ago! The tour takes you around all of Wells’ most famous attractions, including the Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace, the marketplace and more. You might even recognise some of the scenery as you’re wandering through the ancient city, because you might have seen Simon Pegg and Nick Frost racing through the streets of Wells in Hot Fuzz! You can download your copy of the map here.
For a visit that’s a little bit magical and spiritual, how about a visit to nearby Glastonbury Tor? The infamous landmark has been a pilgrimage site for centuries and has a strong otherworldly pull that draws people from far and wide. The Tor provides some absolutely stunning views over the Somerset Levels. On a clear day you can see for miles, but the views are equally as beautiful on a day when the clouds hang low over the landscape, creating a magical and ancient feel- totally in keeping with the site!
Thanks to the mystical nature of the Tor, there are loads of myths and legends surrounding the site that have sprung up over the centuries. According to pagan and Celtic folklore, the Tor (Avalon) is the meeting-place of the dead – the place where they can pass on to another plane of existence. There are also many stories about tunnels that run beneath the Tor. Back in the sixties, jazz sessions used to take place in the entrance to one such tunnel, which has sadly since been blocked. One of the most famous legends is about a tunnel that supposedly led from Glastonbury Abbey to the Tor. Thirty monks are rumoured to have entered the Tor via this tunnel, but only three came out again, two insane and one left dumb.
Find out more about the many myths and legends that surround the Tor here!
Much like the Tor, Glastonbury Abbey is steeped in legend and folklore. So legend goes, the Abbey is the burial place of King Arthur and was visited by Joseph of Arimathea when he followed Christ on his pilgrimage to the Tor. Glastonbury Abbey, aside from the magic of its legends, is architecturally and archaeologically fascinating, with layers and layers of ruins and foundations dating back to Roman times. A visit to the Abbey makes a very picturesque day out, maybe pack a picnic and munch away in the presence of centuries of history!
Wookey Hole Caves
For those of you that are a little more adventurous, how about a trip far below the streets of Wells? Wookey Hole Caves are a fascinating natural part of Wells’ history and make for a great day out! One of the most famous caves is called the Witch’s Kitchen. Legend states that that during the Dark Ages an old woman who lived alone in the caves was believed by locals to be a witch. A monk called Father Bernard was sent from Glastonbury Abbey into the caves to exorcise the poor woman’s spirit. After pursuing her deep into the caves, Father Bernard scooped up a handful of water from the river, blessed it and threw it over the witch. She turned instantly to stone and petrified body can still be seen in the cave to this day. Another interesting cave to visit is the Hyena’s Den. It was discovered by the Paper Mill Canal by the workmen who dug the canal in 1857. The floor was littered with a foot-thick layer of bones, which turned out to be those of tropical and Ice Age animals, such as rhinoceros, bear, mammoth and lion. It is believed that packs of hyena used to drive their prey off the cliffs and feast on the remains in the cave below. Gruesome!
The Great Crane Project
If you’d rather see your wildlife alive, maybe a spot of twitching is in order? Now, birdwatching might not sound like the most interesting activity in the world, and visions of old men in weird clothes sat in homemade hides might come to mind, but we promise you’ll like this! The great crane is a beautiful bird that hadn’t been seen in the southwest for over 400 years until the RSPB’s reintroduction programme began in 2010. Head down to some of the recommended viewing spots in the Wells area to catch a glimpse of the glorious birds. Check out the project’s website to find out more!
The Sheppey Inn at Lower Godney
After all of that fun, you’ll be thirsty! The Sheppey is the perfect pit stop for a traditional west country cider, but it’s not just your average pub… A mere 10 minutes from Wells, The Sheppey sits happily in the heart of the levels, making it the perfect spot for watching the starling murmurations as the swoop and whirl over the Somerset countryside. We know what you’re thinking; more birds?! But the murmurations truly are a sight to behold, with enormous clouds of thousands of starlings bursting into the skies. Not a bad backdrop for a pint or two before heading back to Ston Easton Park for the evening.