A heavenly message which can only be read from above has remained virtually unnoticed for more than 20 years.

Peter Gunner spent decades carefully pruning specially laid out willow cuttings which map out the words from the Bible passage John 14:6: “Jesus said to him: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’.”

The 62-year-old wanted to create a maze in a Sussex field of his favourite verse from the Bible that people could lose themselves in as a metaphor for life.

He said: “You walk around in it but you don’t really know what your life is going to look like from above.”

The Christian mapped out the words on a computer before taking to the field at his home, Burchetts Farm, near Chiddingly, with a tape measure and some string.

But his first attempt in the 1990s grew in a “thistly mess” – so he pulled it all up and started again.

He still regularly goes out with secateurs to cut the letters of the verse into shape and has also put a selection of Bible verses on posts around the planting.

He only saw his creation from above for the first time when his police officer neighbour gave him an aerial picture taken from a force helicopter.

The message in the field has remained virtually unnoticed – bar a few comments from microlight pilots – until The Argus was alerted to it on Google Earth.

Use the bar to the side of the map to zoom in and out

As well as revealing his masterpiece to the world, the aerial images have highlighted slight mistakes to Mr Gunner – he admits the top of the J is slightly wonky and the ‘a’ in ‘am’ is slightly askew.

There is a footpath along the side of the field, so people walking across the East Sussex countryside can stumble across the creation.

But Mr Gunner said the only person to realise the plantings form letters from the ground was a young girl with autism.

He said: “It’s a sort of maze but I haven’t very often got lost in it because it’s quite open.”

Mr Gunner and his wife Faith also wrote the word ‘rejoice’ in the roof of their barn in different coloured tiles when it had to be replaced.

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