Every few years, the Minotaur comes to Saffron Walden, home of the wonderful 17th century turf maze.
He came, in many forms, as part of the 2016 Saffron Walden Maze Festival, which was a rousing success. Every three years, the town celebrates its maze-y history, as enthusiasts and creatives gather together to chat, walk, make, and play with labyrinths and mazes of all sorts and descriptions.
If I tried to show you the whole festival in one post, it would grow too long. So I’m going to show you around the festival in a series of mini-posts this week in hopes of giving you a sense of the event. We spent most of the weekend in Saffron Walden, driving up through the lovely rural countryside to this little market town that we consider a home away from home, especially during Maze Festival week when the whole place teems with labyrinth enthusiasm and interest and we get to watch as whole new generations get inspired about history and myth, while having the time of their lives. It’s a hands-on event, with something for everyone. I came away inspired, buzzing with new ideas, fresh conversations, and deepening friendships.
Let me show you through the weekend….
Those of you who know the town will undoubtedly be pleased to know that there is a new permanent maze in town. Jeff Saward officially cut the ribbon and declared it open on Saturday morning, to the cheers of an enthusiastic crowd eager to explore the new pathways.
And the fun began…
To clarify, for those of you who aren’t familiar with British labyrinth terminology, yes, mazes are typically defined as containing pathway choices while labyrinths have a single path leading to the centre, but some of the historic turf labyrinths here have Maze names – and always have. Confusing? A bit, but if you consider it an opportunity for opening your mind, it doesn’t have to be problematic. Saffron Walden has always referred to the 17th century labyrinth on the Common as a maze. so that’s what I’m calling it here, and the festival, therefore, takes its name from history. The town now boasts an impressive collection of permanent mazes, of differing ages, some of which are labyrinths and others are mazes in today’s parlance. Something for everyone!