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Theydon Bois shown within Essex
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Theydon Bois (/ / or //) is a large residential village and civil parish in the Epping Forest district of the County of Essex, England. It is located 1.4 miles (2.2 km) south of Epping, 0.85 miles (1.3 km) northeast of Loughton and 6 miles (9.6 km) south of Harlow.
Theydon Bois is within the bounds of the M25 motorway and is situated near to its junction with the M11 motorway. It is served by Theydon Bois tube station on the Central Line and has one primary school, Theydon Bois County Primary School. It lies on the edge of Epping Forest.
Despite the French-looking word "bois", the village name is usually pronounced to rhyme with "choice" or just "boys".
The second part of the village name has been 'Boys' as far back as can be traced with various spellings. When the Great Eastern Railway built its branch to Ongar, they asked the clerk of the Epping Parish Council, a Mr John Windas, how it should be spelt. As he had some knowledge of French and in view of the village's proximity to the forest, he suggested the best spelling would be 'Bois'.
A notable characteristic of the village is its complete absence of street lighting. Villagers have consistently voted against the installation of such lighting for decades, fearing that it would damage the traditional village ambience and require a rise in council tax.
The Avenue of Trees
What is widely regarded as Theydon Bois' most iconic landmark is the 'Avenue of Trees' which lines Loughton Lane, one of its main roads. The oak trees were planted in the 1830s to, reputedly, celebrate the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne. Chairwoman of the City of London's Epping Forest Committee, Barbara Newman, said, “The Theydon avenue [has been] identified as the highest priority among the many other avenues of trees that the City of London currently looks after.”
A recent survey commissioned by the City of London, the responsible authority for the Green, found that four of the trees were required to be felled and others should be monitored. A 170 year history of inadequate management had led to the trees to become diseased, meaning that rapid death is likely ot occur in the next four to five years.
Although felling was accepted as necessary, there was local concern about the visual impact that this would have on the village. A new line of trees, therefore, were planted in late 2010, set back from the current row. The semi-mature replacements will eventually dominate the site, although the level of maturity observed by the original avenue will likely not be enjoyed by the current generation. The TBPC Chairman, Robert Glozier, said, “The Avenue of Trees is an intrinsic part of the Village. It has to be preserved not just for the short term but also the long term and the best way to do this is to have a parallel Avenue of Trees to take over”.
Some of the new trees have been sponsored as memorials, and details of these will be printed on an information board near the avenue.
Several yearly events are observed in Theydon Bois. Of most note is the annual tradition of the Donkey Derby, which is usually held in July. The 26th consecutive event was held on 14 July 2013. The Derby involves children participating in donkey racing, which can be bet on in small-stakes. Individual races or the donkeys themselves can be sponsored in advance by villagers who are then offered the right to name the race or donkey respectively. Also included in the day are rides, games, stalls, donkey rides and food and drink tents. Profits made from the Donkey Derby are raised for the Theydon Bois Scouts, although have recently begun to benefit the local Girl Guides as well. The Donkey Derby was postponed from July until September for the first time in 2012 due to bad weather, although the rescheduled event also suffered from heavy rain and wind.
Another annual tradition is the Open Gardens Day, which is held in the summer. The event, which is now in its 30th year, allows local residents to show private gardens to both local and external visitors.
Theydon Bois and Epping Forest
Epping Forest is an ancient woodland, and former Royal Forest. It borders the village of Theydon Bois, and a clearing near the town's main road previously held host to the Donkey Derby until 2007. The community is very active in the sustainable management and conservation of the forest. Groups including the Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society were founded to preserve the rural character of the countryside in and around Theydon Bois. The objectives of the society are given as;
- To resist all attempts of encroachment on the Green Belt.
- To preserve all public footpaths and right-of-way.
- To do such other things as may be incidental or conductive to the maintenance of local amenities.
Activities are said to include;
- Regular monitoring of Planning Applications.
- Organising walks from the Village Hall to explore the surrounding fields and forest.
- Two public meetings a year, in July and October, with illustrated talks on subjects of interest.
- An annual newsletter published in May.
- Maintenance of an archive of photographs of historical interest.
- Creating a photographic record of trees of interest in and around the village.
- Winner, Rural Community Council of Essex 'Essex Best Kept Village Competition (Class 2)', 2004
- Winner, Rural Community Council of Essex 'Essex Best Kept Village Competition (Class 2)', 2007
- Runner up, Rural Community Council of Essex 'Essex Best Kept Village Competition (Class 2)', 2010
- Third Place, Essex Community Magazine Awards for 'Best Community Magazine in Essex' (Theydon Bois Village News), 2012
- Winner, Essex Community Magazine Awards for 'Best Community Magazine in Essex' (Theydon Bois Village News), 2011 
- Winner, Essex Community Magazine Awards for 'Best Community Magazine in Essex' (Theydon Bois Village News), 2010 
- Third Place, Essex Community Magazine Awards for 'Best Community Magazine in Essex' (Theydon Bois Village News), 2009 
- Winner, Essex Community Magazine Awards for 'Best Community Magazine in Essex' (Theydon Bois Village News), 2007
- Winner, Essex Association of Local Councils Newsletter Award' - Essex County Council - (Theydon Bois Village News), 2005
- Winner, Essex Association of Local Councils Newsletter Award' - Essex County Council - (Theydon Bois Village News), 2003
Restaurants and cafes
Theydon Bois has three Indian restaurants, a Chinese takeaway and a Belgian style coffee shop.
The village has three pubs, the Bull, the Queen Victoria and the Sixteen String Jack (formerly the "Wheatsheaf"). Theydons (previously The Railway Arms) closed in October 2011 and is currently for sale as a residential development opportunity.
- David Sullivan, millionaire publisher of Sport Newspapers former co-owner of Birmingham City Football Club and current co-owner of West Ham United Football Club, lives in Birch Hall, off Coppice Row.
- British History Report on Theyond Bois
- Times article about David Sullivan
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