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8 breathtaking garden mazes

Aug. 20, 2014, 9:22 a.m.
Glendurgan Maze

Photo: Tim Green/flickr

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Fun confusion

What do you picture when you think of a hedge maze? Lovely ladies strolling through fastidiously trimmed hedgerows in the countryside? Or an extended panic attack?

Whatever you imagine, a journey through one of these giant interactive puzzles can be both relaxing but also confusing. It depends on how you feel about dead ends, wrong turns and the possibility that you might spend an afternoon utterly lost.

With the advent of computer-based landscape design and smartphones, hedge mazes have evolved since their heyday in Renaissance England. Back then, they were a horticultural must-have that served a dual purpose: looking pretty and providing a delightfully disorienting outdoor diversion. Although they still do both those things, modern hedge mazes now are bigger, badder and far more bewildering than their well-pruned 18th century predecessors.

We’ve rounded up eight exceptional mazes currently open to the public. All but one of our picks is a classic garden maze. Most of them, not surprisingly, are located in the ancestral home of the garden maze: England. (Text: Matt Hickman)