It is regarded as an oasis of calm and tranquility, and the nation's capital for alternative health therapies and spiritual healing remedies, but now the residents of Glastonbury, which has long been a favoured destination for pilgrims, are at the centre of a bitter row in which many blame the town's new wireless computer network - known as wi-fi - for a spate of health problems. Some healers even hold that electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) generated by the wi-fi system are responsible for upsetting positive energy fields of the body, which are known as chakras, and positive energy fields of the earth, which are known as ley lines.
There are now calls for the project, the first of its kind in Britain, to be "unplugged" and for wi-fi masts in the centre of the Somerset market town to be removed just seven months into its experimental run.
Meanwhile soothsayers, astrologers and other opponents of the wi-fi system have resorted to an alternative technology - known as "orgone" - to combat the alleged negative effects of the high-tech system.
In May, Glastonbury - which has a population of 9,000 and which lends its name to the country's largest rock festival, staged on a farm six miles outside the town - became the first place in the country to have a free wi-fi network installed in its town centre. The £34,000 project is financed by county council and regional development agency funding,
At a public meeting to discuss alleged health problems in the Somerset town, residents complained of numerous symptoms including headaches, dizziness, rashes and even pneumonia. Protesters claim that radiation associated with the wi-fi network suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone which helps to control sleep patterns, regulates the body's metabolic rate and boosts the immune system.