Totes a maze! How a forester turned his financial crisis into an eco-friendly puzzle

In a corner of Cantabria, northern Spain, a forestry owner solved his business problems by making one of Europes largest mazes

What I really like about the Laberinto de Villapresente in Cantabria, northern Spain, apart from the fact that it looks very nice (especially from the air) is the idea behind it. The economic crisis in the eurozone has hit particularly hard here in Spain but it affected Emilio Perez Carral very hard. He was a forester and had a business selling cypress trees.

Villapresente map

When the crisis hit he was left with thousands of trees, but rather than get rid of them he decided to do something creative he designed a maze and planted the trees. He started the business with his daughter, who was in her 20s and unemployed too.

That was four years ago (thats how long it took for the trees to grow to the right size) and the maze finally opened this April. Now it is Spains largest maze and one of the biggest in Europe. How long it takes to get round the maze really depends: there is a fast way but it can also take an hour and a half to get to the centre. If youre unlucky, you have more than 5km of aisles to walk.

If you get lost, Emilio, who lives nearby, is part of the rescue team. There are also safety exits at several points, showing you how to get out if you need to. They havent lost anyone yet.

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