The Story of R’new and our Labyrinth
On a rainy Sunday in March 2015, the Austen family was inspired to build a Chartres-type labyrinth on their scenic property, which overlooks the Vaal Dam and boasts an underground water spring and mysterious, ancient stone circles.
Armed with an iron stake and knotted washing line, they began the painstaking measuring process. The idea was to follow the pattern of the sacred labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France, which was built in 1205 and used by monks to pray and meditate. Unlike the stone labyrinth at Chartres, this one would be botanical, with the design created by flowerbeds filled with herbs, rose bushes, grape vines and fruit trees. With their long washing line connected to a central stake in the ground, the Austens pinpointed the four points of the compass and then put rocks at all the knots that they had made in the washing line. These were spaced at two metres for each path and 700mm for the flowerbeds between the paths. The washing line was then moved half a metre in an anticlockwise direction. This was the beginning of R’new’s enchanting story.
Today, this exquisite, unspoilt space and the labyrinth are open to visitors. Accommodation is offered in three luxury villas. The labyrinth that the Austens mapped out has been walked by hundreds of guests and day visitors eager to experience its mystical appeal. As the path winds from the outside of the circle to the labyrinth’s centre, we are reminded that we cannot always take a shortcut to our destination or to our dreams, and that we should savour all of life’s twists, turns and lessons learnt.
The fragrant herbs and the fruit from the trees in R’new’s labyrinth are used not only in our wellness products but also in the delicious, botanically infused gin that is produced in our on-site distillery, where visitors can learn about the process and even craft their own gin flavours.