In a field not too far, far away from March or Chatteris there were some very special visitors today (Wednesday) for the official opening of this year’s Skylark Garden Centre’s maize maze.
Storm troopers were joined by members of the media and a member of the actual Star Wars cast for the event on Wednesday which saw helicopter rides over the field where Skylark’s Ed Gowler had painstakingly planted this year’s maze.
Star Wars is this year’s theme, following on from last year which had the BFG and the year before Minnions, and so this summer visitors will be winding their way along paths mapped out with characters from the iconic films including Luke Skywalker, a storm trooper and Princess Leia.
Tim Rose, actor and puppeteer who has featured in several of the films playing a variety of characters including Admiral Akbar in Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, was on hand to give it the Hollywood touch.
He also puppeteered both Salacious B Crumb and Sy Snootles in the Force Awakens. Tim has an impressive resume not only for Stars Wars but he also helped bring Spitting Image to the small screen and worked alongside Jim Henson on the Muppets.
It was his first mission to this area, travelling from his home in Kent, to take in the maze and help to officially open it ready for this weekend when the public can experience it for themselves.
Ed explained the maze this year is flourishing and is more than double the height it usually is at this stage of the summer season.
“Everything is flourishing so well I have had to rotovate the pathways several times to keep them clear. I did leave it for a fortnight once and when I went to check I could hardly see where the paths were. The corn grows to around eight feet high and it is nearly fully grown already. It will then start to grow the ears of corn, but visitors should be warned it is not the nice sweetcorn, it is really bitter and is not intended for eating. The sweetcorn variety doesn’t grow tall enough unfortunately.”
But fans of the environment do not need to worry as there is no wastage, the corn goes to the anaerobic digester at Mepal to be converted into green energy.
Tim was really excited by the maze and enjoyed a guided tour into and out of it with Ed carrying a map leading the way.
“It has been great fun coming here today to see the maze, I’m sure the kids and their parents will have enjoy finding their way around the maze,” said Tim.
Ed explained the idea for the maze came from his family who thought it appropriate to mark the 40th anniversary of the films. The maze covers 12 acres and takes around an hour to complete.
Admission prices: Adults - £10, children £9, family £36, season tickets £40.