Maize the force be with you - amaze-ing Star Wars tribute in a Wimblington field

The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt

The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

In a corner of the galaxy far, far away, a farmer got to work with his tractor.

The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt

Star Wars fan Edward Gowler has created this incredible tribute to celebrate the cult sci-fi series’s 40th anniversary.

He carefully trimmed back the 6ft-high maize growing at his 1500-acre farm and garden centre at Wimblington, Cambs, to create the outlines of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Hans Solo, Darth Vader and the Deathstar.

The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt

Bart Woodbine, events manager at Skylark Garden Centre, said: “Star Wars is so iconic for so many people. It’s more than just the films themselves, but a real passion and obsession for many – including myself, as well as our owner Edward and his children.

“As 2017 marks the 40th anniversary since the first film was released, we couldn’t imagine our Maize Maze honouring anything else.”

The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt

The maze was officially opened by a member of the original Star Wars cast, Tim Rose, aka Admiral Ackbar - a fish-like alien rebel commander in Return of the Jedi, whose most famous line was: “It’s a trap.”

More than 1m sweetcorn plants make up the maze, which sprawls across 12 acres of the Fens - the area of a dozen football pitches. It features 3km of paths.

A Storm Trooper inside The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt A Storm Trooper inside The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt

After Mr Gowler draws up his designs, they are sent to a specialist company which produces a GPS map used to mark out the field with spray paint.

As the corn grows, it is carefully cut down to clear the paths to create the maze, which are then rotavated to keep them clear of weeds.

A Storm Trooper inside The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt A Storm Trooper inside The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt

Mr Gowler has become a dab hand at creating the giant living artworks, which he started in 2005 to diversify his family-owned arable farming and garden centre business.

Previous crops have been planted to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, the Big Friendly Giant and animated film Minions.

Actor Tim Rose at the Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt Actor Tim Rose at the Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt

In 2015 the Wimblington maze was named maze of the year by industry body the Maize Maze Association.

Puzzlers can try out the maze from Saturday, when it opens to the public at Skylark Garden Centre on Manea Road, Wimblington.

The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt The Star Wars themed Skylark Maize Maze at Manea. Picture: Ian Burt

It should take 45mins to complete, provided you don’t get lost. More than 15,000 visited last year’s maze.

Visit http://www.skylark-events.co.uk/ to book.

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