Top Ten British Mazes
Natasha Hayes encourages us to get lost in her pick of the best mazes in the UK
The Amazing Cornish Maize Maze, Cornwall
Find your way through the giant maize stalks and take part in the quizzes, puzzles and mini mazes within the maze. Each year there is a different theme and this year it’s ‘All Things Cornish’, so look out for a tribe of mischievous Cornish Pixies that have taken up residence.
Peace Maze, County Down
Castlewellan Forest Park is home to this fantastic maze that is one of the longest permanent networks in the world. Planted in 2000, the maze commemorates peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and attracts 80,000 visitors per year.
With a location in the beautiful rural County Down, its popularity isn’t surprising and visitors enjoy a maze network made up of 6,000 yew trees with a hedge length of over 2 miles. Upon finally solving the maze, there is a bell for you to ring at the centre to make sure everybody knows about your achievement.
York Maze, Yorkshire
Made up of over 1.5 million maize plants, this maze covers 32 acres of land. Each new season is marked by a fresh design that pays homage to a piece of popular culture, which has included Harry Potter, Dr. Who and last year’s Thunderbird style. These mazes must be seen to be believed as the use of satellite technology to achieve an astounding scale of size and intricacy is truly unique.
Image via tripadvisor.co.uk
Longleat Hedge Maze, Wiltshire
Commissioned by Lord Bath, the 1 3/4 mile maze was constructed in 1975 and is hedged by over 16,000 meticulously kept English Yews. Since then 6 high wooden bridges have been added to offer you a tantalising glimpse of the quickest roots to the elusive watchtower that marks the maze centre.
Splashing Water Maze, Kent
Situated in Sixteen Acre Island in the stunning grounds of Hever Castle is a maze with a difference; concentric stepping stone walkways sit in the water of a shallow lake. The aim of the maze is to reach the stone grotto in the centre without getting wet but this is made difficult by the water jets and tilting stones.
Inspired by the Greek myth of Minos and the Minotaur, this maze is set entirely in stone and sits inside the luscious grounds of Kielder Castle. Interspersed throughout the maze are a variety of special features, including a useful set of stairs that takes you high above the stonewalls to scout the best root to the centre. Once you figure that out, this unusual maze rewards your success with a glittering room made from thousands of glass shards.
Image via visitkielder.com
Noah’s Ark Maze, Somerset
At 3.2km long, Noah’s Ark Maze is the longest hedge maze in the world. 14,000 beech trees were planted in the shape of Noah’s Ark with 7 massive animals inside. The maze is split into 15 sections and in each section you are asked a question – get it right and you will be told the quickest way to the centre.
The Forbidden Corner, Yorkshire
Get lost in a labyrinth of tunnels, chambers and follies in a four acre garden in Tupgill Park. The maze was developed in the 1980s by Colin Armstrong for private use but due to demand was opened to the public. Discover the weird and wonderful statues and various oddities from the classical to the bizarre waiting around every corner.
The Traquair Maze, Peeblesshire
Traquair Castle is home to one of the largest hedge mazes in Scotland. It covers over half an acre and the distance to the centre is a quarter of a mile. The maze has an unusual layout; there are no dead ends and visitors must reach 4 sub-centres before they can reach the real centre. However, it is certainly worth the journey as such is the beauty of this maze, it has been used for numerous film, TV and ad productions.