There’s a New Labyrinth at Adams Farm

Take a walk in the woods and discover the new labyrinth at Adams Farm!  It’s just off the main Blue Trail that runs from the parking lot to the back meadow.  A labyrinth is a meditative tool used for contemplative walking that consists of a long path that continuously doubles back on itself, bordered by stones, low hedges or walls.

The labyrinth site in the woods at Adams Farm before construction

When the idea of a labyrinth was first discussed by FOAF board members, three possible sites were suggested.  The first location was adjacent to the Butterfly Garden and the second was in the field behind the volleyball courts.  Both of these were grassy sites that would require frequent mowing during the warmer months.  The third location was in a clearing in the woods, just off the main Blue Trail.  With no grass and minimal undergrowth to deal with, the board deemed it the perfect spot for the labyrinth.

The labyrinth at Adams Farm was the brainchild of Jessica Lastarza, a FOAF board member interested in meditation.  Last spring Jessica invited Sandy Cardinal, a labyrinth designer from western MA, to visit Adams Farm to take a look at the site in the woods that FOAF had chosen for the labyrinth.  The goal was to create an inconspicuous labyrinth made of natural materials that would blend in with the setting and be easy to maintain.  Working with the exact dimensions of the space, Sandy designed a 5-circuit labyrinth that fit the site perfectly.

Red Solo cups mark the starting points of the labyrinth.

Sandy returned to the Farm in the fall to lay out the labyrinth with the help of FOAF secretary Yvette Morrill.  After loosely measuring off the area, they picked a “center” for the labyrinth – a group of small pine trees.  From the center, they marked the starting points, known as the seed pattern, with Solo cups.  Then, using a piece of string and a 4-foot piece of wood, they laid out the 3-foot-wide paths and 1-foot-wide walls of the labyrinth in ever-widening semi-circles radiating out from the central group of pine trees.  As the labyrinth took shape, Sandy used earth-friendly spray paint to outline the circuits until the walls could be marked temporarily with branches.

The paths of the labyrinth begin to take shape.

The following week volunteers returned to the site to rake the paths of the labyrinth and line the walls with small rocks.  Jessica and her daughter were joined by Boy Scouts from Troop 44 and their parents, as well as Gary Riggott, head of the Walpole Trails Committee, and his son.  Gary provided a trailer to help haul rocks from other parts of the Farm to be used in the walls of the labyrinth.  A small cairn of rocks marks the entrance to the labyrinth.

Rocks line the walls of the finished labyrinth.
A carved wooden sign near the entrance to the labyrinth
A carved wooden sign near the entrance to the labyrinth

The labyrinth at Adams Farm is located near the start of the Blue/White Trail, a 10-minute walk from the barn.  Follow the main Blue Trail into the woods until you spot the trailhead of the Blue/White Trail on your right with a sign for the labyrinth underneath.  Turn onto the Blue/White Trail and soon you’ll see the labyrinth tucked into a clearing on the right.  Come check out the new labyrinth and feel free to bring along a rock or two of your own to add to the walls!

(For those interested in walking a larger labyrinth, visit Sandy Cardinal’s Johnson Hill Farm in Buckland, MA.  There she has created an 11-circuit labyrinth on a gently sloping hillside featuring many types of lavender, herbs, wildflowers, field grasses and ferns, open to the public by appointment. Find out more at https://www.lavenderland.net.)

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