Hall Farm, Metton
Hall Farm, Metton is farmed by Richard, Pat & John Harrison and is part of the National Trust Felbrigg Estate.
The family have been here since October 1968 and today grow a range of crops including maris otter barley for a local maltings and fresh peas & beans for a local co-operative, supplying a Norfolk frozen food company. The farm also has several grass meadows which are grazed with Aberdeen Angus cattle in the summer.
With relatively small fields and many woods & hedges, there’s always a lot of wildlife around with deer, hares and a range of birds such as skylark, lapwing and finches to be found.
Looking to diversify into a new enterprise, the family initially set up a small maize maze in 2005 which has grown steadily to now cover over 12 acres of a field with a large play area and excellent catering facilities.
The Wizard Maze and Play first opened in the Summer of 2003 with a five acre maze in a 2 metre high corn field. Visitors were set the challenge of finding dragons teeth within the maze pathways. We had our own resident wizard, known today as Dick Hutchinson of North Norfolk Radio.
How does the Maze grow?
The maize maze is made up of a growing crop of maize which looks similar to sweetcorn – in fact they both produce a large yellow cob. However, maize has much more starch and is not suitable for human consumption! Sorry folks!!
The field is prepared in early spring by ploughing and when the soil is warm enough in late April, early May, the seeds are carefully planted in neat rows into the field by machine – 480,000 seeds in fact!
Given good weather, by June the plants have grown well and are about 1ft tall. As if by magic, the maize maze design is cut into the field with nice wide paths which will later become the challenging maze theme for the year.
By the end of July the maize has grown tall enough (6ft hopefully) and we open the maze to the public for the first time.
In August the crop produces ‘cobs’, the yellow kernels that you see hanging from the plant and these are the main feed source for the growing crop.
By the end of September when everybody has visited the maze and enjoyed the Summer, the crop has finished it’s growing. The crop is then harvested by a giant machine which cuts and chops the whole plants into small pieces which are then put in a big airtight bag, like a long sausage 50 metres long, and fed to our cattle through the winter as a tasty, healthy food.
Before we know it, Winter has passed, Spring has sprung and the whole process begins again!