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Stackyard News Aug 07

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    Farmer Gets Lost in His Own Maize Maze

A farmer from County Durham got lost in his own maize maze. Paul Barkes reached a dead end while mowing the paths through the maze at Thorpe Farm country park and falconry centre, near Barnard Castle, Co. Durham.

paul barkes in his maize maze

After spending several minutes trying to find his way out of the 5-acre maze, Mr Barkes was forced to drive over his carefully tended crop, trampling down plants in the process.
“I’ve already had feedback suggesting the maze is tricky to negotiate,” said Mr Barkes. “Next year, I think we’ll make it a bit easier.” 

The ‘Chicken Run’ maize maze summer attraction will be open throughout the season, until the crop is harvested in the late autumn. Children can also try to locate a number of model birds of prey, each hidden within the maze. When they have completed the task, entries will be posted in a box, with a prize-winner drawn at the end of every day.

The Centre is open from 10am till 5pm every day. Tickets, which include entry into the Country Park, Falconry Centre and Maize Maze, are priced at £5 for adults and £4 for children & OAPs. A family ticket costs £16.

For more details visit the website,

Paul Barkes was a full-time farmer with pigs, sheep, cattle and arable crops until he opened up the farm as a tourist attraction in 2001. Starting with a gourmet food shop and gift shop, bistro & coffee shop, the centre has gradually expanded to become one of the area’s major tourist attractions.

Future plans include the development of a touring caravan park and self-catering holiday cottages. The farm is in the process of joining an environmental stewardship scheme, to create an area of wetland to provide habitat for birds and other wildlife.

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Thorpe Farm Centre