The Longleat Hedge Maze is located in the garden of the English stately home of Longleat, situated next to the village of Horningsham, in Wiltshire.
Added to the estate in 1975, the Longleat Hedge Maze is the largest of several mazes on the property, and the longest (but not the largest) hedge maze in the world.
It is made up of more than 16,000 English yew trees, and the pathway covers 1.5 acres and 2.72 km. It is a full-scale maze, with multiple paths, punctuated by six raised bridges, and several dead ends. The correct exits end at a central observation tower.
The maze has 2.5 m tall hedges and is part of the 8,000 acres of the property, which also includes a set of unique features, including a drive-through safari park where more than 500 exotic animals roam freely.
Keeping the hedges trimmed takes a team of six gardeners over a month, to tackle the 2.72 km of hedges by hand, a task that is repeated every six months.
The maze is so complex that it can take over an hour and a half just to walk through it. As an emergency backup, the maze has several “Lift if Lost” direction panels for those unable to find the exit. Lately, some visitors have been cheating their way out of the maze by using their smartphones to look up an aerial view of the maze on Google Maps.
The land is currently owned by the 7th Marquess of Bath, Alexander Thynn, who, apart from his eccentric lifestyle, is also a great lover of mazes, and has added the hedge maze, as well as three other smaller garden mazes: the Lunar Labyrinth, the Sun Maze, King Arthur’s Maze, and the Love Labyrinth.
The historic house, gardens, hedge maze, and safari park are open to visitors and the maze is inaccessible to wheelchair users and pushchairs.
Roger Bamber / Alamy Stock Photo
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