Couple recreate maze from Anne Boleyn castle in back garden of their three-bed semi

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Just off to trim the hedge, dear. I’ll be back in a week! Couple recreate maze from Anne Boleyn castle in back garden of their three-bed semi

  • Sussex homeowner Richard Bushby spends a week trimming the hedge
  • · It copies the maze at Hever Castle, with 750 trees and 16 tons of gravel 
  • He said: ‘It takes four of five days to cut it… then three days to rake it all up’
  • And he can’t get lost in the process, either – there’s only one way in and out 

For most gardeners trimming the hedge takes a couple of hours at most.

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But for Richard Bushby it lasts all week – after he grew a full-size maze behind his three-bed semi.

The 85 ft x 85 ft creation is based on the yew maze at Hever Castle in Kent – the childhood home of Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn. It features 750 leylandii trees and has 16 tons of gravel on a quarter of a mile of pathways.

Mr Bushby – whose surname is apt for his creation – used to run a commercial nursery on the two-acre site which is now his spectacular garden. He laid out the design and finished planting the fast-growing trees in the late 1990s with the help of his wife Sandra. He said: ‘They’re now about 7ft tall. They’re solid and shaped so it’s not too bad to maintain. It only gets trimmed once a year in July.

Richard Bushby tends to the immense maze garden he built at his West Sussex home

Richard Bushby tends to the immense maze garden he built at his West Sussex home

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RIchard, right, and wife Sandra, left, plan to open the maze to the public at a reasonable price

RIchard, right, and wife Sandra, left, plan to open the maze to the public at a reasonable price

‘It takes four or five days to cut it with a petrol hedge trimmer, then three days to rake it up and take it all out by wheelbarrow – and, of course, there’s only one way in and one way out.’

The carefully planned maze is 85 sq ft in size

The carefully planned maze is 85 sq ft in size

Mr Bushby, 71, from Sidlesham, near Chichester, West Sussex, opens the network of paths and hedges designed as a puzzle to the public once a year to raise money for charity. He said: ‘You can get lost in it. We have ‘lookers’ standing on a trestle table by an area where it’s prone to happen to shout directions to those who are going round in circles. Kids run round it in no time, but some adults have more of a problem.’

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Mr Bushby added: ‘The area where our maze is now was barren before. Instead of planting more grass, we decided to do something else with it and a maze came to mind.’

The Bushbys' maze is the same size as the one at Hever Castle, Kent (pictured in March 2019)

The Bushbys’ maze is the same size as the one at Hever Castle, Kent (pictured in March 2019)

The Bushbys' immense maze took many years to grow to its current size (crops pictured, 1999)

The Bushbys’ immense maze took many years to grow to its current size (crops pictured, 1999)

It is the same size as the maze at Hever Castle which was built in 1906 by its owner William Waldorf Astor, then the richest man in America.

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Mr and Mrs Bushby will open their garden, which also includes a woodland glade, a pond, and wildlife area, to the public on July 31 to raise money for the Perennial charity which helps people who work in horticulture and their families.

Entry is £3 for adults, but free for children under 15.

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