Farmer's amazing maize maze is world-beater for one day only
Saturday 03 July 1999
Sprawling over eight acres, with more than five miles to trek through, David Partridge's Great Leighs Great Maze, near Chelmsford, Essex, will hold the record for, sadly, only a day. An even more gargantuan puzzle carved into a crop of cornstalks opens in the American state of Utah tomorrow.
Mr Partridge, whose visitors will be equipped with helium balloons and sealed maze maps in case they run out of brainpower, was forced to open his maze eight days early to snatch the record briefly as the craze for maze-building spreads. Increasingly, farmers are finding maze-building is a serious money-making enterprise. The number of maize mazes worldwide has increased from five in 1997 to 24 this year.
Mr Partridge has taken two years to build his maze. By the end of this summer his walls will be 10ft high. At the end of the season the crop is fed to cattle.
Mr Partridge said: "The hardest part was finding the right kind of maize. Most maize will stand up well when packed into a flat field with no paths but once you build the paths it just flops over because there is not enough support. After a few trials I opted for a breed from Holland but that's all I'm prepared to say. It's a bit of a trade secret."
He is confident farmers can generate large sums from mazes. Mr Fisher has invested pounds 25,000 making the world's biggest maze and hopes to get up to 60,000 visitors a year.
He designed it himself, although many farmers use the world's undisputed maze expert, the Hampshire designer Andrew Fisher. One maze rival called him the "Calvin Klein of the maze world".
In 1997 Mr Fisher's Windmill Maze at Millets Farm Centre in Oxfordshire brought in paying visitors and increased turnover at the shops by 6 per cent. His design company will build 24 mazes in seven countries this year. It is big business. One mid-west US farmer who was given a year to pay off debts or go under solved generations of debt by building a maze - and took $250,000 in the first summer.
Mr Fisher said: "People love mazes and we love designing them. I want it to be as much a childhood memory as Halloween or `trick or treat'.
"Mazes are the antidote to the manicured formality of a stately home's lawns, and a family trip to the countryside maze is much more fun than walking down a road avoiding traffic and getting caught on barbed wire."
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Malaysia Airlines: Search for true identity of passengers with stolen passports launched as terrorism concern grows
Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
International Women’s Day: 'When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Dead woman's body found sitting in a car after six years after direct debits ran $54,000 bank account dry
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 3 Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
- 4 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...