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English Turf Labyrinths


Once common throughout the British Isles and Germany, turf labyrinths (commonly called “turf mazes”) were popular feature of village fairs and other festivities, but only a handful of historic examples survive. Many were situated on village greens or commons, sometimes near churches, but other times on hilltops or in remote locations. Often difficult to date, the eight surviving historic turf labyrinths in England probably range from the 16th to the 19th centuries. In recent years they have been joined by a number of modern examples and replicas in parks and playgrounds, on hilltops and headlands.

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Julian's Bower, Alkborough,
 Lincolnshire

Alkborough, 16th century?

Mizmaze, St. Catherine's Hill,
Winchester, Hampshire

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

The Maze, Saffron Walden, Essex
cut 1699

Mizmaze, Breamore, Hampshire
late 16th century?

St. Catherine's Hill, Winchester
mid-17th century

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Saffron Walden Common, Essex

Mizmaze, Breamore, Hampshire

Troy-Town, Somerton, Oxfordshire
late 16th century?

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

The Old Maze, Wing, Rutland
17th century?

The Old Maze, Wing, Rutland

Troy-Town, Somerton, Oxfordshire

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

The Maze, Hilton,
Cambridgeshire, cut 1660

Hilton, Cambridgeshire

City of Troy, Dalby, North Yorkshire,
mid-19th century

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Seaton, Devon, 2005

Hilton, Cambridgeshire


City of Troy, Dalby, North Yorkshire

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Photo: Labyrinthos Photo Library

Seaton, Devon

Solsbury Hill, Batheaston,
Somerset, early 1990s

Comberton Meridian School, Cambridgeshire, 2007


We also have a downloadable PDF guide to the historic turf labyrinths in England, with information about each labyrinth location and visiting information in the Labyrinthos Archive section of this website.


All of the images on this page (and many more besides) are available in high resolution digital formats for licensed reproduction. For details of reproduction fees and permission procedures, send us an e-mail with details of your planned usage and format requirements.



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