Keeping Glendurgan's maze forever puzzling

The wavy hedges of Glendurgan maze in Cornwall seen from above

At Glendurgan, the challenge of how to keep your children entertained was solved with style by Alfred and Sarah Fox over 180 years ago. The cherry laurel maze they planted gave endless amusement to their twelve children together with their many cousins.

What needs to happen?

From afar, the maze looks as healthy as ever. Up close it's a different story and it needs a lot of care and attention. As with everything in gardening we know that sometimes maintenance isn't enough. The time has come for us to carry out major restoration of the maze to rehabilitate it back to good health and improve the infrastructure (steps and paths) to make it more robust to cope with the 80,000+ visitors who walk its paths each year.


Healthy hedges

Cherry laurel makes a great hedge as it's vigorous and tolerant, however even this plant needs a bit of tender loving care. We cut the hedges each year which keeps them looking crisp and neat, however the hedges now need further attention to restore them back to their former glory.
Narrow paths means passing people is not easy and has resulted in damaged hedges. Because we cut them to the same height each summer they have branches and twigs in them which can hold disease. We need to cut out any dead wood to encourage healthy new growth and remove the weeds which take up space.



The maze is given extra interest and viewing potential due to its position on one of the valley slopes in the garden. This means there are 173 steps within the maze, most of which are beginning to rot and fail. They need replacing with a durable stone alternative so visitors can safely find their way round the maze.


Well-trodden paths

The combination of wet Cornish climate and intense use causes water to build up and flood in places. The materials used to construct the paths are not able to cope with the volume of visitors and a more robust solution needs to be found. As the design is on a much smaller scale than the original maze on which it is based (Sydney Gardens, Bath) this means the paths are narrow and passing people is not easy, creating pinch points and damage.


How can you help to care for the maze?

In order to support this work we have set up a hedge fund and are aiming to raise £20,000 per year over four years to cover the cost of the maze restoration. This fund will improve the hedges and infrastructure of the maze so it is more robust and able to cope with the number of visitors. This will ensure it is in good condition for future generations to enjoy.
As a charity completely independent of Government we rely on fundraising to help us carry out projects like our maze restoration. Just visiting Glendurgan helps us with fundraising and you can also give donations or buy raffle tickets on your visit. Each raffle ticket sale is matched by central NT funds, meaning double the money for the campaign. Please be aware that we are unable to sell raffle tickets or take cash donations at this time. We welcome online donations.