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Tony Huxley's Oct Compost Corner
03-10-2017

It?s been a terrific summer, but for me it's going to be, cue bad pun, an a-mazing autumn. I've been commissioned to design and build a maze by my friend 'Farmer Ed' from Westlodge Farm Park in Desborough.

The earliest known maze was at the ancient Eygptian tomb of AmenemhatIII, 6,000 years ago! In Britain, mazes have been a feature of grand country estates since the 16th century.

hampton Court MazeThe most famous is the Hampton Court Maze, which was constructed in 1690. Its walls were originally hornbeam but this was later replaced with yew hedging. There are many other fine mazes around the country including Longleat, Chatsworth, and a recently built one at Burleigh House. My family always make an annual visit to the Wistow Maize Maze.

You don't have to own a stately home to own a maze. I've seen simple mazes of lavender or box, of no more than a few square metres. A pattern could be set out using coloured stones or mowing a design into the lawn.

The maze I'm building is based on a design in Victoria Park, Glasgow. It is unicursal: it has one path that leads you along a meandering route without puzzling alternative options. But my design has incorporated a few extra little tricky sections to keep you guessing.

Unfortunately I can't wait decades for hedging to grow. This maze will be constructed with more than 150 metres of fencing, under the shelter of a small stand of Norway Spruce that have been topped to create the close, dark feel of thick woodland. With any luck, the maze will ready for Halloween. By which time Farmer Ed hopes to be back from his shopping trip to Crete. He's seeing a bloke called King Minos who owns a labyrinth and has promised to loan Ed something called a Minotaur. Sounds like a lot of bull to me, but maybe you should check it out for yourself!

Tony Huxley

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