Julians Bower is a fine example of a turf-cut maze cut into the hillside overlooking the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Trent. It’s exact origins are a mystery, but it was first recorded in 1697. Several theories about its origins exist, some linking the maze to a Trojan Warrior who brought the idea of turf mazes to Britain ( in some parts of the country these turf labyrinths are still known as Troy Towns).
Other theories link the maze to a cell of monks that cut the maze to represent the either the path to heaven, or for use in penitential rituals.
Whatever the truth of its origin, it is a remarkable place. The hill it sits on has no great height, but overlooks a huge flood plain formed but the Ouse and Trent, and the tidal waters from the Humber. Sunset here can be a magical experience as acres of flooded ground turn golden in last moments of daylight, and the Sun slips below the horizon.
Places of great antiquity will always draw the curious, and those that wish to incorporate them into rituals not necessarily contemporary with the age of the site. This can readily be seen at Stonehenge and the many other stone circles in the UK at the times of Solstice and equinox, and certainly was the case here when I visited on the Solstice a few years ago. Whatever the original intention of the people that built the maze, Its good to see that the special magic of the place is still recognised and treated with respect.
Happy Solstice everyone