Sunday 3 September 2023

Glastonbury Tor Railway

100 years ago today the final construction train departed from Glastonbury Tor. And here we have our little narrow gauge train being saluted by the little people on its final run down from the Tor after dropping of its final load of spoil. 

It’s not common knowledge, but the clump that is now known as The Tor started life as a spoil heap for all the iron, lead and pagan crystal mining in the nearby Mendip Hills. In later years it also became the town rubbish tip and was deemed a bit of an eyesore with nothing growing on it, so local wealthy landowner Lord Arthur Heldegard-Evis-Dando the Thirteenth ordered a layer of limestone rich topsoil to be applied to the clump. It was hoped that a forest would grow, but in the event only grass, brambles and thistles would ever take hold due to rabbits, sheep, sightseers, roll up cigarette butts and mountain goats constantly damaging the surface. 

To add a final embellishment, a Folly was built on top called St Michael’s Tower after a sizeable investment was made from a Leeds based clothing and more recently food retailer. It was originally designed as an ornate rain shelter so Lord Arthur Heldegard-Evis-Dando the Thirteenth and his rich pals could keep dry whilst enjoying the magnificent views on rainy days. But near the end of construction the building fell foul of planning regulations and would need to be demolished if ever finished. For this reason the folly doesn’t have a roof because it is still technically under construction. 

Sadly all trace of the railway has gone now including the spiralling circular route up to the top of Tor, which is a shame, because it would be a popular way or the more infirm and elderly hippies, goddesses and wizards to avoid what is rather a steep walk.  

So this my chums is the true story of Glastonbury Tor, well according to a colourfully dressed chap I met in the beer and smoking garden of The King Arthur pub in Glastonbury on a recent trip there, so it might just be pure nonsense, for we had imbibed rather a lot of rough farmhouse cider. 


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