Julian’s Bower Turf Maze

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Family including children under 16

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This is found in the small village of Alkborough and is cut out in a circular depression on the ridge high above where the River Trent joins the Humber.

There are stories that turf mazes dated back to Roman times and were named after Julius, son of Aeneas the legendary founder of Rome, who brought maze games to Italy from Troy after it was sacked by the Greeks. However it seems more likely the maze is medieval. The first record of it is from 1697. There was a Benedictine Monastery near here in the 11-13thC. The early Christian church used the idea of a maze and a symbolic pathway to Heaven. There are records that the maze was used for May Day games until the 19thC.

There is a plan of the maze in the porch of the Village Church. This is locked but there are details of where to get a key in the porch. His is worth a visit as it has a Saxon tower, Norman font and the reredos behind the alter was made by Robert Thompson, the Mouseman from Kilburn in Yorkshire.

Today the maze is a popular play area for young children who enjoy following the path. It is also a welcome spot for rest if walking the South Humber Heritage Trail between Burton Stather and Witton.

The path follows a series of arcs to the centre. When we visited, the gaps between the paths were getting overgrown and in need of recutting which did make the paths difficult to follow.

On a clear day there are glorious views over the Alkborough flats the wetland area at the mouth of the River Trent. This had been low lying farmland but in 2006 the flood defence bank was breached to allow the area to flood as part of the Environment Agencies Flood risk management strategy.

There is a view finder marking places that can be seen from the maze. On a clear day York Minster is visible.

Close by is Paddocks Tear Room which comes highly recommended.


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