IF YOU thought arable farming was boring, think again. But you might need a map.
Tucked away in a Barnsley village, farmers Jim and Sarah Williams have transformed their maize-carpeted acres into a giant puzzle.
Known as the Maize Maze, these tall and rapidly-growing crops have been cut to create a mesmerising series of pathways. From the air, these pathways make a stunning visual pattern but on the ground, it’s baffling, mind-boggling and, most importantly, tremendous fun.
It’s not just a maze, either, the adjoining field is packed with hay-related puzzles, giant stacks and loads of games.
The couple started the Maize Maze at their Cawthorne dairy farm 11 years ago and since then the maze has become more and more popular, with as many as 400 vistors a day.
“We’ve just had the local school in and they love it because they get to see the maize and go on the trailer, which is towed by our 50 year-old tractor, ‘Fergie’,” says farmer Jim Williams, 52.
“They learn something too - we’re keen to educate people about where their food comes from.”
Jim’s clearly passionate about farming, as is his wife, Sarah. The maze is their brainchild and creating it was a real family affair.
“All the wooden cut-outs of animals and people were drawn by our son, the benches are bales of hay and the flagpoles are made from old fencing,” says Sarah.
And while over the summer the Williams are most famous for the maze, their maize has been the subject of much acclaim.
“We won a national competition a few years ago and were taken to the Paris agricultural show as a prize. It was amazing.”
Producing food for the local community is also something the Williams are familiar with as makers of Maizie Moo ice cream.
Mum-of-three Sarah said: “I was up until 10pm last night making ice cream.”
n For details about the Maize Maze, open 10am to 6pm until September 4, visit www.maizemaze.co.uk or call 01226 791855.