When I was a child I absolutely loved mazes; I was obsessed with buying maze books, delighted in getting lost in the mazes at Glendurgan Garden and Longleat, and even had a go at drawing my own mazes!
My fascination hasn’t completely died. When I found out there was going to be a Maize Maze in Cornwall, literally just down the road from me, I couldn’t contain my excitement! It must have been at least ten years since I had experienced the joys and frustration of a maze, so I really couldn’t wait to give it a go again.
I managed to persuade my boyfriend to go with me yesterday afternoon. We made our way down the narrow lane towards Smeaton Farm, where The Amazing Cornwall Maize Maze has been built for the summer. We rocked up at about 3 pm, thinking we would have plenty of time to complete the maze. We were wrong!
We purchased our tickets (£7 each for adults – which I thought was a bit steep at the time, but now I know why) and made our way towards the maze entrance. We had been given a maze map inside a sealed envelope with the incentive to get our £1 coin back if we brought the envelope back unopened. We also had a pencil and a leaflet consisting of two games.
The theme of the maze this year is giants; hence why the first game was to find magic beans. There were ten stamps to find throughout the first part of the maze, labelled A-J. We managed to find 8 of these, and stamped the different beans onto our little leaflet. It’s still a mystery to me where those other two stamps are; we were wandering around this section of the maze for at least 30 minutes!
As we were walking around, getting more lost by the minute, we could hear creepy sounding fairground music, which we assumed (correctly) was to lure you towards the middle part of the maze, where there was the promise of ice lollies and cold drinks. We kept thinking we were heading in the right direction, but would then be led around in a massive circle and, once, even ended up by the entrance again!
The trouble (or the fun) with this maze is that there aren’t really any dead ends, just a lot of different pathways which all look the same and create an endless feeling of confusion. The maze is a whopping 8ft tall as well, so there’s no way of seeing over the top!
When we finally made it to the centre of the maze, we bought our soft drinks and caught our breath. The girl working at the little kiosk offered to tell us where the two magic bean stamps we’d missed were, but we declined as we didn’t want to go back in and get even more lost!
We then had the choice of either exiting the maze or carrying on to level 2 – the second half of the maze which housed the second part of the game. We decided to give it a go. This time, we had ten giants to find, rather than magic beans.
We set off at a pace, keen to find them all this time. We quickly realised that this might be an impossible task! We walked for at least ten minutes without finding any giants at all. We seemed to be going deeper into the maze and not making any progress whatsoever. This part of the maze had longer passageways with slight gradients and by this time it felt like we had walked miles so it was quite hard work!
Finally, we managed to find one of the giants, yay! We answered the multiple choice question on our game sheet and carried on. Well, I’m ashamed to say that we only found two out of ten giants! A pitiful attempt. By this time, I needed the loo, so we decided to give in and give up. Of course, we still had to find the way out!
I still cannot believe the sheer scale of this maze; to think there were so many parts we didn’t even find, otherwise we would have found all of the giants and beans. We climbed up the exit steps where we had a view point of the entire maze. The size was immense. I’ve never been in a maze like that! I was pretty exhausted; it had been frustrating but fun and I am so impressed with how they have created this awesome maze.
I would recommend anyone on holiday in South East Cornwall, or those heading back over the Tamar bridge at the end of their holiday, to stop off at the Maize Maze. They also have a shop selling pasties and drinks, a children’s play area, a sand pit and lots of cure animals to see.
My advice for families would be: arrive earlier so you have time to enjoy the maze without rushing; be prepared for a lot of walking, and consider this if you have young children; complete the first part of the maze in the morning, enjoy some lunch and then head back in to tackle the second part.
Have you been to the Cornwall Maize Maze yet? Did you do better than me?