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Penshurst Place Maize Maze opens for the summer holidays 2018

By Angela Cole

It’s time to get lost in summer activities.

Managers at Penshurst Place are revealing all for their new maize maze in time for the long summer holidays.

Each year they choose a different theme and design. This year the maze, which is open until Sunday, September 9, has been planted in the shape of a giant clock face and has the theme of time travel. As visitors wind their way around the maze, they can collect clues from different historical eras hidden inside te maze. Once they have collected all the clues, they’ll be able to crack the puzzle and be able to crack the puzzle and be in with the chance of winning a family season ticket.

The Maize Maze at Penshurst Place
The Maize Maze at Penshurst Place

The theme reflects Penshurst’s rich history - the stately home dates back 675 years and the actual clocks that inspired the design can be seen inside the 14th century medieval home.

Taking around 40 minutes to complete, the eco-friendly maze is a fun activity but also has an element of competitiveness. If you like to win, you’ll need to collected the clues in the right order to be able to crack the code.

Popular with visitors, some 15,000 people visit it each year to tackle it. Visitors can carry flags to be rescued if they get lost - last year the maize grew very high and a number of rescues had to be made!

The Maize Maze
The Maize Maze

Here’s some facts about the project, which takes the team months of careful cultivation:

* It covers 5 acres and has more than 100,000 plants in it.

*The field is prepared the same as for any maze crop - usually grown for cattle silage - but the field is double “drilled” from north to south and east to west so the plants grow closer together to make the field more dense.

* It takes about a day to plough and about two hours to double drill the plot. Then the maize is marked out in the chosen design in around a day and a half.

*The seeds are planted in late April and May when the soil temperature is high enough for the maize seed to germinate.

* Ideal growing conditions for maze is warm and dry days with plenty of moisture in the soil. In ideal conditions a maze plant can grow an inch a day.

* The maize can sometimes grow to as tall as 9ft.

This year, if you go armed with your phone or camera you could win a family season ticket. Take a selfie in the maze and post it on social media, with #PenshurstMaizeMaze. The competition runs until the close of the maze in September, with winners announced via Twitter @PenshurstPlace and Facebook facebook.com/penshurstplaceandgardens the following week.

Children need to be accompanied by an adult, and maze stewards will be on hand to help for those who lose their way.

Entrance to the Maize Maze is included in the standard garden entry ticket prices and is open every day in the summer, from 11am to 6pm, with last entry at 5pm.

For details go to penshurstplace.com/whatson.

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