Owner of York Maze searches for new ways of using land

It started with a single field of corn and with a little ingenuity grew to become the largest maze in Europe.

Now York Maze has had to close for the summer because of Covid-19. But farmer Tom Pearcy is thinking creatively once again about uses for the land.

“We haven’t planted the crop at all, at the moment it’s an empty field,” said Mr Pearcy, maize master at the 15-acre site which has 20 corn-themed attractions and shows.

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“The question is what do we do with this space? It’s just 
re-imagining ourselves. Perhaps we can pivot, so long as we can do it safely.”

Owner of York Maze Tom Pearcy, in his Maze field planning the design for next year 2021.

Mr Pearcy is working through ways that the space could be safely used, rather than letting nature take its course.

One option could be a drive-through for shows, provided it could be safely social distanced once restrictions are formally lifted.

Another, given its vast outdoor space he said, could be to open up its grounds to restaurants in need of the room to serve socially distanced customers.

“The key thing is being able to do it low risk,” said Mr Pearcy. “Our priority is the safety of staff and customers.

“If it works, if it’s safe, we can build from that. We’ve got to be flexible and fluid.

“We started the maze back in 2002 because we were full of ideas, and that worked up into 20 corn-based attractions,” he adds.

“We are certainly full of ideas, it’s just working out what might safely work.”

The largest Maize Maze, which is created from over one million maize plants, had been due to open in July, welcoming huge crowds every day over the eight weeks of summer, but plans were cancelled last month.

Other attractions include pig races, play areas and various other smaller mazes.