Celebrating Saffron Walden
Saffron Walden is a charming medieval market town in north west Essex some 15 miles from Cambridge.
As well as its two historic mazes the town has many interesting buildings illustrating its long history.
St Mary's Church is the largest and one of the most beautiful parish churches in Essex, dating from the 13th century with major rebuilding between 1450 and 1526. The spire was added in 1832. Several of the streets near the market place include half-timbered cottages and inns, many decorated with ornamental moulded plasterwork known as pargetting.
A market has been held in the town since 1141 and a wide range of stalls offering all sorts of fresh foods as well as other household items can still be found in the Square on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Near the church is the Saffron Walden Museum and beyond that the ruins of the 12th century Walden Castle.
A mile from the town centre is the elegant Jacobean mansion Audley End House set in attractive parkland and gardens.
And in 2013 these notable buildings will be joined by one more. A first-class concert hall with fine acoustics and seating for 800 is currently being built at Saffron Walden County High School to serve the school and the wider area. The new hall will bring our community increased opportunities to enjoy professional music and drama of a high standard and provide an exceptionally well equipped venue for amateur performances by the various music and theatre groups which flourish in the town.
The Turf Maze
The wide, grassy Common to the east of the town centre is the home of the Turf Maze, which featured large in a recent Saffron Walden Maze Festival and is now the inspiration for the MazeMusic project.
This maze is actually a labyrinth and thought to be some 800 years old. It is the largest surviving ancient turf labyrinth in Europe and is much enjoyed by the many who walk its winding narrow brick path.
The Hedge Maze
Saffron Walden also boasts a Victorian hedge maze in the charming Bridge End Garden, a series of seven interlinked gardens laid out by the Gibson family in the nineteenth century. These grade II* listed gardens have been extensively restored and provide an oasis of calm on the edge of the town.