South Woodham Ferrers
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|South Woodham Ferrers|
South Woodham Ferrers shown within Essex
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South Woodham Ferrers is a town and civil parish in the borough of Chelmsford, in the English county of Essex. It is approximately 35 mi (56 km) from London and, according to the 2001 census, has a population of 16,629. The town is situated east of Fenn Creek, near to where it meets the River Crouch. South Woodham Ferrers is currently part of the Maldon constituency represented by John Whittingdale.
The railway station opened in 1889 to serve South Woodham Ferrers and the surrounding area. The town of South Woodham Ferrers continued to develop until it was formally recognised as a separate community to Woodham Ferrers, located one mile north. Prior to World War II, South Woodham Ferrers had one maintained road (Hullbridge Road), and many unmade roads leading east and west off it. By and large, these outer areas consisted of isolated plotlands and temporary summer accommodation. In World War II, due to the need for more home grown food, much of the insubstantial and overgrown plotland summer accommodation was demolished. The land was reclaimed by the Essex War Agricultural Committee, and the plotlands were amalgamated to become fields. Extensive drainage work was undertaken; as the fields became productive the main crops were wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, flax, and sugar beet. After the war, the Committee was disbanded, but the fields continued to be farmed privately and the original plotland owners were not permitted to return to their plots, which had been designated as "zoned for development". The town grew in the 1960s, and further grew dramatically as part of a planned development in the late 1970s.
In 1981 Queen Elizabeth II opened the town square, which is named after her.
Many street names in the south-western part of the town are taken from the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, such as Gandalf's Ride, Gimli Watch, Rivendell Vale, Celeborn Street, Hobbiton Hill and Arwen Drive.
The main secondary school in the town is William de Ferrers School, the first intake of which was in 1982. The town is also home to five primary schools: Collingwood, Elmwood, St. Josephs RC, Trinity St. Mary's C of E and Woodville. Chetwood Primary School was closed in 2009 and was replaced by a Sure Start centre.
The town centre consists of around 100 business units. Approximately 45% are retail premises, with the remainder being a combination of professional services (such as banks and estate agents) and dining locations such as cafés and restaurants.
The supermarket chain Asda is regarded as a key development partner for the town centre, opening a store in the town in late 1978 which made them the principal retailer in the town. In 2001 Essex County Council sold the freehold for the vast majority of the town to Asda, who in turn sold a package of land and property to SW Investments. As a result of these sales, Asda own the town's car parks, Queen Elizabeth II Square and approximately one third of the shop premises in the town centre. SW Investments owns most of the remaining areas in the town centre, including Market Square, with the remaining premises having a variety of private owners.
Chelmsford City Council has recently entered a consultation period with a number of groups in the town, including the local business group, over the future development of the town centre.
Bushy Hill (aka "Radar Hill")
Bushy Hill is part of South Woodham Ferrers town council area, and lies to the north of the town. The west face of Bushy Hill was covered in broad leafed woodland and known locally as 'Little Wood'. 'Big Wood', officially named Hawe's Wood and also known as 'Bluebell Wood', is closer to Edwin's Hall. Later the hill became known locally as "Radar Hill" due to having been visually dominated by a radar testing site. This site was operated by a number of the former Marconi companies including Alenia Marconi Systems, and more recently (currently?) used by BAE Systems to develop various radar technologies, some of which are for military use. The site remains in use, but the large dish which earned the hill its nickname has been removed. Online mapping services such as Google Maps clearly show the site in use, including a helipad. The public footpath around the site passes the entrance sign warning of "helicopters landing, danger of radiation" and other such dangers associated with a working radar testing site. The inner workings of the site are well secured with a security gatehouse, anti-climb heras[clarification needed] fencing and a number of CCTV cameras. Bushy Hill was also known locally, before Marconi came to use it, as "Landslip Hill", referring to the south face of the hill which has slid away leaving a bare escarpment, clearly visible from the town. From the west side of the present Marconi site, trailing off towards Edwin's Hall, is a woodland of mature trees, sometimes called "Bluebell Wood".
During snowy winters, Bushy Hill is popular for sledging.
The village hall
The village hall is home to the local football club and cricket team.
South Woodham Ferrers is the home of a male voice choir. Originally named after the town, it now performs under the name of men2sing.
In Summer 2006, South Woodham Ferrers elected its first town mayor, Councillor Ian Roberts.
South Woodham Ferrers Rugby Club has a Club House at Saltcoats Park, running teams at ages between under 7 and under 16. Players as young as two can join Little Scrummers on Saturday mornings. The youth section consists of under 17s and colts and have three senior teams, a veterans team and a ladies team. The First Team has just been promoted to the London North East Second Division.[when?]
South Woodham Ferrers Cricket Club currently runs three teams in the T Rippon Mid-Essex League, playing home games at Purleigh CC and the village hall.
South Woodham Ferrers is home to amateur football teams. William De Ferrers, Focus Ferrers, Fennlands, Woodham Town and Woodham Radars.
- "South Woodham Ferrers". ESSCRP. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- Frankland, John (1992). South Woodham Ferrers : a pictorial history. Chicester: Phillimore. ISBN 0-85033-832-8.
- "Domesday Reloaded: Marconi Radar". Quotation from unnamed school pupil about local landmarks, recorded as part of BBC's Domesday project in 1986. BBC. Retrieved 2011.
- Simons, Roy. "Forty Years of Marconi Radar from 1946 to 1986 (GEC Review Vol.13 No.3 1998)" (PDF). 1998 report on Marconis history of radar research work in the UK, mentioning Bushy Hill. GEC Review. Retrieved 2011.
- Eastwood, Eric. "Radar's contribution to studies of birds". Report on study of bird life carried out at Bushy Hill circa 1958. New Scientist. Retrieved 2011.
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