Blog post, August 9 2014

This is becoming a diary of my explorations of the river Brue: eventually, for me, this is going to be an important resource when I come to write another book. The visits to the mouth of the Axe and the source of the Brue have been postponed for the time being; both will involve some form of ritual, which will need a bit of thinking about. Last weekend I cycled to Nyland, in the Cheddar valley.

Nyland used to be called Andrewsey and it is the furthest of the seven holy islands from Glastonbury. I have been reading John Michell’s book New Light of the Ancient Mystery of Glastonbury, which includes a chapter on the seven islands and the extraordinary fact that their physical configuration is very similar to that of the seven stars in the constellation of the Great Bear.

Michell describes the view looking south from the top of the hill: “The view opens up revealing the entire Vale of Avalon with its green islands, backed by Glastonbury Tor. Nyland is the natural gateway to this enchanted landscape.”

Getting there isn’t so easy as I had thought. There is no road along the floor of the Cheddar valley; I had to find my way to the Wells-Cheddar road which follows the edge of the Mendip hills. This is busy with traffic and steep in places, not great for cycling, but finally I found the lane down to Nyland and then the gate to the footpath, then up the path that looks almost vertical to get to the top.

The views from the top are worth it. Glastonbury to the south, and to the west Brent Knoll, and beyond that a hazy image of Brean Down on the coast.

Tor from Nyland
Brent Knoll from Nyland