Glendurgan Garden Maze – Mawnan Smith, England - Atlas Obscura

Glendurgan Garden Maze

Mawnan Smith, England

The twists and turns of this serpentine maze are over 170 years old. 


In its earliest beginnings in the 1820s, Glendurgan Gardens was thoughtfully laid out to sustain its design for ages to come, and like most amazing landscapes, it took ages to arrive at its current glory. Starting out as the private gardens of Alfred Fox, his family continued to develop his work after his passing, and in 1962 it was handed over to the National Trust.

The gardens offer a stunning array of rare and exotic plants that Fox acquired in his travels working with a shipping company, but the true jewel of the site is the maze. Designed to mimic the appearance of a serpent curled lazily in the grass, Fox planted the maze over 170 years ago using cherry laurel, a flowering hedge known for its dense foliage. Wanting the maze to be a challenge, its coils stretch three quarters of a mile from exit to entrance, endlessly spiraling around itself in tight, manicured circles.

While it’s suggested that you leave yourself a generous amount of time to navigate your way through, those easily turned around or too impatient to walk the entire thing can cheat by having a friend call directions out from a hillside vantage point.

Know Before You Go

Glendurgan Garden is 4 miles south west of Falmouth and 0.5 miles south west of Mawnan Smith.

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