The plant maze at Longleat

Longleat Hedge Maze, labyrinthe de Longleat

As well as a safari, Longleat Park is home to the world’s longest plant maze.

The LongleatHedge Maze is located in the garden of the residence of the 7th Marquess of Bath in Longleat, near the village of Horningsham and the town of Warminster, England. Designed and laid out in 1975, the labyrinth path is 2.72 km long, extends over 1.5 hectares and is made up of 16,000 English yews. It is the longest plant maze in the world.

The labyrinth is made up of 2.5-metre-high hedges winding around a huge estate called « Longleat House », which hosts some unusual features, including a safari park filled with over 500 exotic animals. This was the first safari park (in 1966) outside the African continent to be traversed by car. The labyrinth is made up of several dead ends and multiple paths punctuated by six elevated bridges. The right way out is from a central observation tower.

Longleat Hedge Maze, labyrinthe de Longleat

Keeping the hedges trimmed takes more than a month for a team of six gardeners equipped with motorized hedge trimmers. This task is repeated every six months. But gathering the clippings from a total of nearly 8 km of hedges by hand is only the least of the gardeners’ worries… Not getting lost is the real challenge, especially for new recruits.

The labyrinth is so complex that it can take over an hour and a half just to walk through it. In case of emergency, the labyrinth has several Lift if lost directional signs for those unable to find their way out. In the past, some visitors have cheated their way out of the maze by using their smartphones to consult an aerial view of the maze on Google Maps.

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The Longleat House – geographorguk – Mike Searle

Photo source: AP