Beverley Lear has planted her name in the new 50th edition of the Guinness Book of World Records by creating the world's biggest maze.

The Oxford maze-maker planted 6,000 eight-year-old yew trees to create a maze covering 2.77 acres of land in the Castlewellan Forest Park, County Down, Northern Ireland, with the pathway stretching 2.18 miles.

And it's not just an immense maze, but a peace maze, with its roots in the Good Friday Agreement.

Beverley Lear with her design She was inspired to create the pathway for peace while listening to the news in her kitchen on Osney Island, and hopes the maze will help bring the different communities of Northern Ireland together.

Beverley's husband Michael Lear is the curator at the National Arboretum in Castlewellan and the couple also run their own landscape design company, based in Oxfordshire.

Normally, her speciality is historic restoration projects and she had never before attempted to create a maze.

Beverley, 46, is also completing a doctoral thesis at Oxford University on the relationship people have with their gardens.

She said: "After hearing the news on the radio I said to Michael, 'How are you going to commemorate this? Rather than having politicians planting trees and putting up labels, which was bound to upset political opponents over there, I said why not have a maze?

"I mean people relate to mazes and the symbolism of a maze is incredible."

"If you think about it," she added, "being in a maze makes people talk to each other. You try to find someone who can help lead you out, and therefore people who would never normally be together are brought together."

The idea was backed by the Forest Service, with 75 per cent of the £570,000 cost of the project met by the EU's Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

She also involved thousands of schoolchildren in the design. Many of their ideas were used.

The overall pattern of the maze, with a raised mound at the centre, was designed to resemble the human brain.