Glastonbury Festival weather: ‘mud expert’ Professor Brown reveals why Pilton site is often a mud bath

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Over the years Glastonbury Festival has seen its fair share of muddy conditions. Everyone has known or seen images of brown water lakes and sticky, slimy mud at the Somerset site.

Despite the Met Office’s latest forecast predicting mostly hot and dry conditions for this year’s event, festival-goers are still worried things could get worse. With more than 200,000 people on site, conditions underfoot can quickly deteriorate.

But why does the Pilton event seem to be particularly prone to mud bath conditions? Tony Brown, professor of physical geography at the University of Southampton, gave his expert opinion.

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Tony Brown, professor of physical geography at the University of Southampton

He thinks it’s because of the ground the festival takes place on, and not necessarily a particularly rainy microclimate. He said: “It’s not that this part of Somerset is exceptionally wet, but it’s because of the clay soils. The festival area at Worthy Farm, which used to be part of Pilton Park, is on the clays of the Lower Lias of the Jurassic Age.”

Professor Brown knows his Somerset soils, as he is both an expert and someone who grew up locally – in Sparkford and Castle Cary. This particular type of clay soil in the Lower Lias is more likely to chop and lead to muddy conditions, he says.

He added: “The clays of the Lower Lias and the low slopes lead to waterlogging – hence mud if it rains. Water naturally drains only very slowly and the ground remains saturated which leads to liquefaction, i.e. mud! So it’s all in the geology, not just the skies.”



Revelers walk through the mud near the cider bus at Glastonbury Festival
Revelers walk through the mud near the cider bus at Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury 2022 weather ‘first signs’ point to perfect festival conditions

The Met Office predicts near-perfect weather conditions for the 2022 Glastonbury Festival, which runs from June 22-26. The national forecaster predicts warm but not too hot temperatures, with little rain.

The UK is set to be scorched by a heat wave this week, before temperatures drop dramatically and rain sweeps across the country on Sunday (June 19) and Monday (June 20). However, Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern believes conditions will then improve over the next week.

Speaking on Wednesday June 15, Mr McGivern said: “Early signs for Glastonbury are that an area of ​​high pressure west of the UK will develop eastwards across the country later next week This would lead to steadier weather more widely across the UK – but especially to the South West.

“So the first signs for Glastonbury are that higher pressure will start to return to the UK – it will be a good start with the weather getting drier and brighter, and as a result it will get a bit warmer. However , there is no sign at the time of a heat wave like the one we are experiencing this week.”

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