“ One of the oldest wells in Britain located in the Vale of Avalon between Glastonbury Tor and Chalice Hill „
The Chalice Well Garden
This is another peaceful little retreat and worth a visit. It is not huge but the gardens are beautifully maintained and nested within the gardens is the amazing Chalice well which produces water with a very heavy iron content so it looks like the water is red as it stains the wee and all the man made channels that trickle throughout the garden. If you want some of this water then you can buy a plastic bottle to fill with The Chalice well on the front or you can take any number of your own to fill at no cost at all. The water is very full of iron and supposedly very good for you.
It is nice to know that the Chalice Well Trust has now been awarded a Bronze for Green Tourism. These gardens are open every day except the first Saturday in June which is Companion's day when only friends of the Chalice Well are allowed to enjoy the garden. It is open from 10am daily and closes at 4.30pm in winter and 6pm in summer months. The cost including a gift aid amount is £4 for an adult and £2 per child which is a fair price for a pretty unique sort of place.
This well is one of Britain's most ancient wells and for over two thousand years this has been somewhere people have gathered to drink the waters. It is considered to be a holy well probably because of the red water which is supposed to be the blood of Christ. The story goes that it miraculously sprang forth from the ground when Joseph of Arimathea buried or washed the cup used at the Last Supper.
For the non Christian but spiritual people this well water is a gift from Mother Earth to sustain its life. It shows that there are forces in nature that are beyond human powers and this well represents this unbounded life force. The gardens are an area of peace and beauty. People are asked to respect the quiet in the garden so that all can experience the quiet healing of this sacred place. Even for those who are not spiritual or Christian this is a place where you feel something that is bigger than you are, a feeling of awe combined with an inner peace.
Even if you are only interested in the garden you can enjoy the beautiful seasonal changes within this quiet sanctuary. I visited in January so not a lot was growing but still a few little snow drops were pooping their heads out. A couple of robins came to eat bread almost from our hands while they bobbed amongst the berry filed branches just near the well in the area known as the Sanctuary.
Another sacred thorn tree, a cutting from the original tree on the hill survives in the garden here just near the free form cascade and Vesica pool. The water comes down in a figure of eight through each of the seven bowls and it is designed to mirror the swirling of a natural mountain stream as it falls eventually into the Vesica Pool. According to my friend who is more spiritual and earthly than I am the pool was designed to represent the female parts and if you look at the free form pools there is certain look about them but I leave that to your imagination.
You can get some of this Chalice well water from the lion Head fountain inside the gardens or you can also collect water without going in to the gardens by the wall outside is another spout that anyone can use. Apparently the Lion's Head dispenses 25,000 gallons of warm spring water a day. On the other side of this road is another well spout with clear well water that has less or no iron content and in my view tastes preferable to the iron rich water. Sadly this well known as the White Spring is rather neglected and all you really see is a spout emerging from a small somewhat abandoned building that used to house what is known as the White Spring. Once again you can take bottles and fill them as often as you like from this spout.
The Chalice Well gardens are well worth a visit and are a perfect place to go and just sit and relax . You can take on the more spiritual aspects or simply just enjoy a lovely peaceful place to sit.
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