A four-year restoration project to revive the historic maze at the Grade II-listed Glendurgan Garden in Cornwall has now been completed.
Glendurgan Garden was created in the 1820s by Quakers Alfred and Sarah Fox, who later added the cherry laurel hedge maze in 1833 for their 12 children to enjoy.
The garden was gifted to the National Trust in 1962, and today it welcomes more than 85,000 visitors every year.
However, the winding walkways of the maze have been worn down from intense use, and the rainy Cornish climate has created water-logged soils that are damaging the hedges – many of which were planted when the maze was first created.
Site Manager Tony Finnigan said: ‘We quickly realised that investment was needed to bring the maze back to good health and ensure its future was secure for generations to come.’
Started in 2018 and carried out over four consecutive winters when the garden was closed to the public, the restoration project was made possible thanks to fundraising efforts which secured £140,000 through donations, raffle tickets, legacies, and support from Barclays Bank.
The project involved installing drainage to prevent water build-up and flooding, and upgrading the pathways with a more robust bonded gravel surface (to protect the roots of the plants from footfall) and fitting them with metal edging.
‘Working with a local metal fabricator we built what looked like a mini railway system,’ said John Lanyon, Head Gardener. ‘Once each bespoke section was designed and bent to shape, it had to be sent away to be galvanised. It wasn’t an easy process as some of the junctions have multiple paths coming into them.’
A new octagonal oak summer house, complete with thatched roof, has been installed at the centre of the maze, and each of its 173 wooden steps have been replaced with a durable stone alternative.
‘With its rare trees and shrubs, wonderful setting and ornamental features like the spectacular maze, Glendurgan Garden is a hugely important part of our horticultural heritage,’ said Andy Jasper, National Trust Head of Gardens and Parklands.
‘There is such a rich sense of discovery as you journey through the valley to discover its botanical treasures, and the maze takes the garden design to another level of magic.’
For information about opening times and entrances charges at Glendurgan Garden, visit the National Trust website.