Picture gallery: First ever Saffron Walden Maze Festival comes to a close

Celebrating the town’s unique position as the only place in Britain to have two historic mazes, the festival welcomed people of all ages from London, East Anglia and even further afield.

The festival organisers were delighted with the warm support from local residents and organisations in making the event such a success.

Sunday’s grand finale event ‘Mazes! Myths! Magic!’ saw about 400 people enjoying maze games, a children’s maze created from hay bales, face painting, a bouncy castle, local food and music.

Mayor and mayoress, Cliff and Valerie Treadwell, presented prizes to the winners of WaldenTri’s ‘Races in the Turf Maze’ as well as to the best fancy dress on the night.

Saffron Walden Buskers led people through one of the temporary mazes on the Common to create a human maze.

The festivities then culminated with the crowd standing around the Common Turf Maze where 750 sparkling candles had been lit.

Barbara Wilcox from the Maze Festival organising committee said: “The first Maze Festival has been a huge success and we’d like to thank those people who supported the festival by attending, volunteering at, and organising various events and activities throughout the week.

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“The feedback has been tremendously positive and we are pleased that through the Maze Festival we have been able to promote both the town and its unique maze heritage.”

The festival was supported by grants from Essex Community Foundation, Awards for All Big Lottery Fund, Saffron Walden Initiative, Saffron Walden Town Council and the Tourist Information Centre, Ridgeons, Waitrose, and GQ Design.

Other highlights during the festival were:

• Dowsing for Lost Maze - nine dowsers from London visited the Common on Saturday. Through wet and windy weather they found two areas of interest – one containing what they believed to be a small labyrinth and one featuring a small spiral. These sites will be further investigated when Cambridge based archaeologists return in October 2011 to survey the ground with special geophysical equipment.

• Maze Trails – A good turnout for the eight and 15 mile courses, organised by Saffron Striders. All participants had to first find centre of the Bridge End Garden hedge maze to receive their maps and instructions and in total 63 runners did the 15-mile route. Maps of the trails are available for people to do at their own convenience by contacting Saffron Striders at saffronstriders.org.uk

• Festival Teas at the Methodist Church received donations of �272 in two afternoons which will be going to the Africa Famine Appeal.

• The Full Monteverdi shown at Saffron Screen on Tuesday August 23 in support of the Maze Festival and Saffron Walden Early Music, welcomed local film director John La Bouchardiere and saw an audience of 159 people.

• Prepare to be Amazed Prose and Poetry at the Saffron Walden Library included witty original work as well as excerpts from published poetry like ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and other popular works. It was a very entertaining evening enjoyed by 50 people.

For all details visit saffronwaldenmazefestival.co.uk