Welcome to the Balsham Maze

Aerial view of Balsham Maze

Visiting the Maze

Please note that the Balsham Maze is in a private garden and not normally open to the public.   We have some open days each year through the National Gardens Scheme, either as an open day or for small groups by prior arrangement.   Details are in the NGS handbook and on their website.  A previous NGS visitor has written a blogpost.

Our most recent opening was on 4th and 5th August 2019 to raise vital funds for the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity ‘Hospice at Home' campaign.   Thank you to the ARHC fundraising team and to the friends and neighbours who worked hard to make it such a success.   Thanks also to the Granta Chorale for some beautiful singing on Sunday afternoon.

About the Maze

Planted in 1993 the Balsham Music Maze has two variants of yew in half a mile of hedge; green yew Taxus baccata and a golden variant Taxus elegantissima.   The golden yew hedges form the shape of a treble clef.   There are over 1500 trees in total.

In the centre of the treble clef there is a raised paved area.   There are more than a quarter of a mile of grass paths and two lengths of brick paved paths which form the shape of French Horns.   In the middle of one horn there is a tiered alpine garden with a symbolic sculpture on top.   This is by John Robinson and is called ‘Joy of Living’.   We hope you feel that its graceful upwards spiral merits that name.   In contrast, the middle of the other French Horn is a circular pond.  The Spiral mobile fountain in the centre was designed by Giles Rainer.   Hilary saw it at the Chelsea Flower Show one year.   We couldn’t resist it!

The Balsham maze was designed and planted by Jim Potter with help from his friends and family.   Jim is particularly grateful to Adrian Fisher Maze Design for helpful comments as the design progressed and to Balsham friends and family who formed the planting parties.

Playing the Maze

GAME 1 (for everybody)

Enter the maze at the entrance under the two large topiary balls…and explore it.  Visit the raised centre area and both brick-paved French Horns – one with a centre mound and sculpture, the other with a pond and fountain.  Find your way out.

GAME 2 (for enthusiasts)

Enter the maze and use the ‘Train Rule’.   There are no right angled junctions in the maze – they are all like railway points.  To obey the Train Rule do not do U turns at junctions, nor turn back on yourself.  Just keep going forward like a train.   Get to the centre, visiting the French Horns/sculptures on the way.

GAME 3 (still for enthusiasts)

When you visited the French Horns on the way to the centre you probably ‘played’ at least one of them backwards.  The air in French Horns goes from the mouthpiece to the bell – and that’s the way you should go.   So find your way out, still obeying the Train Rule and playing each French Horn properly on the way.

GAME 4 (for professors of Mathematics)

It is possible to get to the centre, always obeying the Train Rule and playing each of the Horns once and once only in the correct direction on the way……and then doing the same on the way out.   Don’t be discouraged if you don’t succeed – it really is very difficult…you will have to use nearly all the paths and it will take you at least an hour to sort it out!