King Arthur Way

SW England, 2-3 week, Folklore

King Arthur Way
(Arthur’s birth place, Merlin’s Cave)
to Glastonbury Tor and Abbey
(death and burial places)
150 miles – 2 weeks+.

Walk in a landscape soaked with folklore and legends, from Arthur’s birth to his death. Starting at Tintagel (the place of Arthur’s conception, according to legend) to Glastonbury (site of his grave, or passing). King Arthur represents the archetype of Kingship.

The route takes the pilgrim from the rugged north Cornish coast, across the wild fastness of Dartmoor and the Blackdown Hills, and over the Somerset Levels towards the iconic destination of Glastonbury Tor. Along the way one passes castles, churches and mysterious stones, winding rivers, woods and heathland, charming villages and tempting pubs.

You will sense you are ‘walking the legend’.  If a sixth-century battle-chief existed called ‘Arthur’ (Arturo, Artus…) then he would have been a very different leader than the one rendered in the courtly romances, as would have been his knights. The Arthur of the early Celtic tales gives us a glimmer, perhaps – he’s far less sympathetic (Trystan and Isseult), more pro-active (The Spoils of Annwn), and often deep in gore (The Celtic Triads).  Yet whether he existed or not, there is an Arthur for all of us – a malleable archetypal construct that changes through the decades. He epitomized one thing for the Victorians (the noble cuckold; the tragic martyr torn between lofty ideals and earthly desires, skeletons in the cupboard and Christian imperialism); another for the post-war generation (a dream of unity, however flawed); another for the counter-culture (Merlin as the original Gandalf; Mordred as the rebellious anti-hero); another for the New Age (feminist revisionist treatments reappraising the role of women in the Arthuriad). Arthur ‘exists’ as a cultural meme, literary figure, and as an ideal.

Highlights include:

  • Wake up on the coast overlooking Tintagel
  • Stumble upon the ancient rock-cut mazes in Rocky Valley
  • St Nectan’s Glen Holy Waterfall
  • Brent Tor
  • Wild-swimming in the Tamar, Dart, and Shilley Pool
  • Castle Drogo
  • South Cadbury – the castle is thought of as Camelot.
  • Burrow Mump
  • Walking to Glastonbury Tor and Abbey across the Somerset Levels

Low-cost hostels along route – Tintagel, Okehampton YHA, Bracken Tor YHA, Morehamptonstead, Street YHA and across region.

See website for King Arthur Way

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