South Woodham Ferrers

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South Woodham Ferrers
South Woodham Ferrers is located in Essex
South Woodham Ferrers
South Woodham Ferrers
Location within Essex
Population16,453 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ812970
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtCM3
Dialling code01245
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°39′04″N 0°36′45″E / 51.651°N 0.6124°E / 51.651; 0.6124Coordinates: 51°39′04″N 0°36′45″E / 51.651°N 0.6124°E / 51.651; 0.6124

South Woodham Ferrers is a town and civil parish in the borough of Chelmsford, in the English county of Essex. It is approximately 35 miles (56 km) from London and 8 miles (13 km) southeast of the city of Chelmsford, and had a population of 16,453 at the 2011 Census, a decrease from 16,629 at the 2001 Census.[1]

The town is situated east of Fenn Creek, near to where it meets the River Crouch.[2] South Woodham Ferrers is currently part of the Maldon constituency represented by John Whittingdale MP.


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.[3] The parish was formed on 1 April 1987 from Woodham Ferrers.[4][5]

In 1981 Queen Elizabeth II opened the town square, which is named after her.

Many street names in the southwestern part of the town are taken from the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, such as Gandalf's Ride, Gimli Watch, Shirebourn Vale, Rivendell Vale, Celeborn Street, Hobbiton Hill and Arwen Grove.


The main secondary school in the town is William de Ferrers School, the first intake of which was in 1982. The town has 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.

Town centre[edit]

The town centre has 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 opened a store in the town in 1978 which made them the principal retailer in the town. In 2001 Essex County Council sold the freehold for the majority of the town centre 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.

South Woodham Ferrers has a weekly magazine called 'The South Woodham Focus', established in 2000.

Bushy Hill[edit]

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[6] by a radar testing site. This site was operated by a number of the former Marconi[7] companies including Alenia Marconi Systems, and more recently used by BAE Systems to develop various radar technologies,[8] 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 show the site in use, including a helipad. The permissive 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 secured with a gatehouse, anti-climb fencing and a number of CCTV cameras.[9]

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.



The town is connected by the A132 to the A130, A127 and other main routes. The B1012 goes east to Southminster and Burnham-on-Crouch and the B1418 north to Danbury.


The town has a station on the single-track Crouch Valley Line from Wickford to Southminster.


There was a ferry crossing across the River Crouch to Hullbridge and other destinations.


The town is about 10 km (6 miles) away from Southend Airport.


South Woodham Ferrers has two choirs. The men's choir was originally named after the town and now performs under the name of men2sing. The women's choir is The Swift Singers.


In Summer 2006, South Woodham Ferrers elected its first town mayor. The incumbent mayor is Robert Massey.


South Woodham Ferrers Rugby Club has a Club House at Saltcoats Park, running teams at ages between under 7 and under 16. The youth section consists of under-17s and colts. There are three senior teams, a veterans' team and a ladies' team.

South Woodham Ferrers Cricket Club runs three teams in the T Rippon Mid-Essex League, playing home games at Purleigh CC and Salcoats Park.

South Woodham Ferrers has several amateur football teams, the largest being South Woodham Ferrers United FC. This is the biggest sports organisation in the town with 40+ teams ranging from 3 yrs up to and including adults' football. Others are William De Ferrers, Woodham Athletic & Woodham Radars.

Team Bentham is a South Woodham Ferrers-based skateboard team, which won the 2019 Essex wide 'Lord of the Swords' competition. It is named after English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer Jeremy Bentham.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  2. ^ "South Woodham Ferrers". ESSCRP. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  3. ^ Frankland, John (1992). South Woodham Ferrers : a pictorial history. Chicester: Phillimore. ISBN 0-85033-832-8.
  4. ^ "Chelmsford Registration District". UKBMD. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  5. ^ "The Chelmsford (Parishes) Order 1987" (PDF). Local Government Boundary Commission for England. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  6. ^ "Domesday Reloaded: Marconi Radar". Quotation from unnamed school pupil about local landmarks, recorded as part of BBC's Domesday project in 1986. BBC. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  7. ^ 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 9 October 2016.
  8. ^ Eastwood, Eric (12 April 1962). "Radar's contribution to studies of birds". Report on study of bird life carried out at Bushy Hill circa 1958. New Scientist. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  9. ^

External links[edit]