Longleat Hedge Maze: The Longest in The World

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Longleat Hedge Maze is located in the garden of the English stately home of Longleat, situated adjacent to the village of Horningsham and near the towns of Warminster in England. Designed and laid out in 1975, the maze has pathway length of 2.72 kilometers, sprawled out over 1.5 acres, and is made up of 16,000 English yews. It is the world's longest hedge maze.

The maze has 8-foot tall hedges that winds around a massive estate that functions as the seat of the Marquesses of Bath and hosts a few unusual features including a drive-through safari park stocked with more than 500 exotic animals. The maze has several dead ends and multiple paths punctuated by six raised bridges. The correct exit ends at a central observation tower.

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Photo credit: Jason Hawkes

Keeping the hedges trimmed takes a team of six gardeners brandishing petrol powered hedge trimmers over a month to tackle the 2.72 km of hedges by hand, a task that is repeated every six months. But clipping back a total of nearly 8 km of hedge by hand is only half the problem. Not getting lost is the real challenge, particularly for new recruits.

The maze is so complex it can take over an hour and a half just to walk through it. As an emergency back up, the maze has several “Lift if lost” direction panels for those unable to find the exit. Lately, some visitors have been cheating their way out of the maze by using their smartphones to look up an aerial view of the maze on Google Maps. Most phones today can detect GPS signals that can be used to pinpoint the exact location of the holder who then follows the online map to find the quickest route out.

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Photo credit: Jason Hawkes

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Photo credit: Jason Hawkes

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Sources: BBC / Bellmaze

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