Toot Hill, Essex

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Toot Hill
Toot Hill common.jpg
Toot Hill sign on the common
Toot Hill is located in Essex
Toot Hill
Toot Hill
Toot Hill shown within Essex
Population 817 
OS grid reference TL515023
Civil parish
  • Stanford Rivers
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ONGAR
Postcode district CM5
Dialling code 01992
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°42′02″N 0°11′31″E / 51.70059°N 0.19194°E / 51.70059; 0.19194Coordinates: 51°42′02″N 0°11′31″E / 51.70059°N 0.19194°E / 51.70059; 0.19194

Toot Hill is a small village in the Epping Forest district of the County of Essex, England. It is located 2.3 miles (4 km) south-west of Chipping Ongar and 3.5 miles (6 km) east of Epping. It is in the civil parish, Stanford Rivers. The Parish stands at 1,749 hectares. Toot Hill also stands less than a mile from the small hamlet of Clatterford End.

Toot Hill is best known for its Country Show which has taken place each year since 1953, which occurs on the first Saturday in August. In recent years the show has relocated three miles to the west to a field at Stanford Rivers. The village is also known for its high elevation and panoramic scenery of the surrounding countryside. Aside from these features, Toot Hill has also been the location of a sighting of the 'Beast of Ongar', a legendary 'panther-like' creature the size of a big cat.[1]

The parish chairman is John Glover.


Toot Hill may originally have been part of the parish of High Ongar, and may have become part of Stanford Rivers about 1280. Like many other towns in this area Toot Hill is made up mainly of scattered farms and cottages.

Does Farm in Toot Hill.

Does Farm here is of late 16th-century origin, faced with brickwork in the 19th century. Also at Toot Hill is a small cottage with one gabled cross-wing which may be of the 16th century or earlier.[2]

In 1863, Toot Hill gained a 'sub-post office', in which a village local employed themselves to work for the post office.

There was also a windmill at Toot Hill in the 19th century. It was built about 1824. In 1829 it was badly damaged by lightning and the miller was seriously injured. The mill was soon working again and continued to operate until about 1900. It was finally demolished in 1935. It was a wooden post-mill turned by hand. The mill stood on the north side of the road leading to Greensted Green.

The railway from Epping to Chipping Ongar passes through the boundaries of the village. Blake Hall station is the closest to Toot Hill, though no longer as a passenger stop. The railway stations at North Weald and Blake Hall were probably opened as soon as the line to Chipping Ongar was completed in 1865.

In 1921, the village gained a parish room for meetings and events to take place.

Post 1945, council houses were gradually built in the area, notably the areas on both sides of the Green Man pub. Electricity was eventually supplied, in part to the village in early 1951.[2]

Toot Hill village green.


The land in the village varies in height from about 100 ft. above sea-level in the south to over 300 ft. at Toot Hill in the north-west. The River Roding forms the eastern and southern boundaries of the parish. A stream flows east across the north of the parish to join the Roding at Wash Bridge. Several smaller streams join the river farther south. Toot Hill is surrounded by large open fields and arable farms. Some farms include areas dedicated to equestrian development.[2]

It is located 2.3 miles (4 km) south-west of Chipping Ongar and 3.5 miles (6 km) east of Epping. It is in the civil parish of Stanford Rivers. It is close to neighbouring towns and villages such as Greensted Green, Greensted, North Weald, Bobbingworth, Bovinger, Clatterford End, Stanford Rivers, Little End and Chipping Ongar.

Politics and governance[edit]

Toot Hill is represented at Westminster by Alex Burghart, MP for Brentwood and Ongar. It is strongly Conservative with the Conservatives winning 52% of the vote in 2015's local elections.

Toot Hill is represented at the Essex County Council by Maggie McEwan, county councillor for Ongar and Rural. A district and county councillor. In 2017, at the county council elections she won 68.2% of the vote, followed by the Liberal Democrats with 12.6%.

McEwen, born in Essex, has lived at Norton Heath, Ongar since 1974. She is a defender of environmental issues and protection of the countryside, having studied Organic horticulture at Otley Agricultural College. She first worked in the community as Governor then Chairman of High Ongar Primary school. Then, she was elected to Epping Forest District Council in 1996 and has served as Cabinet member and Leader of Council. She is married to Gerard McEwen (former Chairman of Essex County Council) and in 2013 Maggie was elected to take his place. She is a member of Fire & Rescue Authority and is vice-chairman of People & Families scrutiny committee and a member of the Local Highways Panel.[3]

Ongar & Rural
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Maggie McEwen 2,336 68.2 +17.3
Liberal Democrat Brian Surtees 432 12.6 +6.2
Labour Co-op Liam Preston 316 9.2 -0.2
UKIP Lawrence Mendoza 282 8.2 -17.3
English Democrat Robin Tilbrook 58 1.7 -1.5
Majority 1,904 55.6 +30.1
Turnout 3,429 27.7 +3.4
Conservative hold Swing +5.5

The village of Toot Hill is governed locally by the Stanford Rivers Parish council. This is a group of 7 parish councillors who represent the areas of Toot Hill, Clatterford End, Stanford Rivers and Little End. The parish council are key in organising the Country Show, but also organise events such as 'speeding patrols' in which groups would wait in areas of the parish with speed guns to deter speeding vehicles. At Christmas, the parish council organise festive events such as 'Meet Santa', carols and mulled wine festivals. These are popular and attended by hundreds of people.[4]

Party Councillor
Independent John S Glover (Chairman)
Independent Alan Buckley
Independent Jeanette Gatward
Independent Ted Saridja
Independent Robert Jackson
Independent Basil Hollington
Independent Matt Talon


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1801 740 —    
1811 700 −5.4%
1821 790 +12.9%
1831 900 +13.9%
1841 965 +7.2%
1851 1,082 +12.1%
1861 1,050 −3.0%
1871 1,000 −4.8%
1881 985 −1.5%
1891 990 +0.5%
1901 905 −8.6%
1911 875 −3.3%
1921 690 −21.1%
1931 755 +9.4%
1941 790 +4.6%
1951 802 +1.5%
1961 836 +4.2%
1971 809 −3.2%
1981 747 −7.7%
1991 779 +4.3%
2001 739 −5.1%
2011 817 +10.6%

[2][5][6]To the left is a table totalling the historical population of the Stanford Rivers Parish. This encompasses the villages of Toot Hill, Little End, Clatterford End and Stanford Rivers.

In 2001, the population of Toot Hill, the small village of Stanford Rivers and of Little End and hamlet of Clatterford End was 739. 50% of the parish was men, totalling to 375. Women made up the other half. The density of the parish's population was 0.42 people per hectare down 0.3 from 1991. This evidences the sparsely populated nature of the area.[7]

The population of 375 lived in the 290 houses in the parish a rise from the 273 in 1991. The average household size was 2.55, a decrease from 2.9 in 1991.[7]

Citizens aged 45-59 make up the majority of ages in the parish. In 2001, 201 residents were aged 45-59. The total number of over 60s (60-100) in the parish was 209. The total number of under 19s was 184.[7]

Of the population of the parish, the majority lived in houses or bungalows.[7]

The population of white dwellers is significantly high in the parish. 707 white British residents outnumber the 20 Indian, Pakistani and Roma villagers.

The main religion in the parish is Christianity (2001). 73.8% (564) identify as Christian, whereas 13.9% (103) identify as irreligious. 72 residents identify as Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim or didnt state their religion at the time of the 2001 census.[7]

In 2001, 19 people in the parish of Stanford Rivers, Little End, Clatterford End and Toot Hill were unemployed. At the time, the majority of residents worked in real estate, closely followed by those in the retail industry and construction industry.[7]


An Epping Ongar 381 bus to Toot Hill.


There are two bus stops in the village.[8]

Blake Hall station after it was closed.

Bus services are provided by Regal Busways and NIBS Buses. Most buses through the village operate from Ongar to Epping, Epping to Harlow or Ongar to Harlow.

Toot Hill Road leading into the village.


The nearest station to Toot Hill is Epping which is served by the Central line. The closest National Rail service is from Harlow Town, which is served by the West Anglia Main Line and is operated by Abellio Greater Anglia.

Epping Road leading away from Toot Hill.

Previously, the nearest station was Blake Hall (which lies between North Weald and Ongar stations), opened by the Great Eastern Railway on 1 April 1865, serving principally as a goods yard carrying agricultural produce from the nearby farms into London. Steam locomotives operated by British Railways for the Underground ran a shuttle service from Epping to Ongar, stopping at Blake Hall, from 1949 until 1957, when the line was electrified and taken over by the Underground's Central line. On 18 April 1966 the goods yard was closed and Blake Hall became a dedicated passenger station. On 17 October 1966, Sunday services were withdrawn.

London Underground closed the station on 31st October 1981 due to a lack of custom. Some reports state that since the station was located a considerable distance from any substantial settlement, 17 passengers used it a day, making it the quietest on the entire London Underground network. Although the building remained, the platform was removed by LT when they heard that, despite the formal closure, some trains were still dropping off passengers. The platform has now been reinstated, though the building is now a privately owned house.[9]

The Epping Ongar Railway now runs the line. The owner lives in the former station. Passengers on the heritage line can no longer alight at the station, but the train, on occasions stops outside the station to provide an experience of the original journey trains on the line would take. The line and surrounding area featured on a Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys in 2012. One can see the former station from the bridge next to the station-turned-house.[10]


Two country roads lead into and run through the village: Epping Road and Toot Hill Road. Epping Road leads from Epping and ends opposite the Green Man Pub. From then on, the main road is Toot Hill Road which leads to Ongar and connects at two points on Greensted Road.


Toot Hill golf course in the evening.
The Green Man Pub.

Toot Hill is home to an 18 hole, Par 70 golf course. The views and layout have attracted many to play here. This renowned undulating parkland course is undoubtedly one of the finest in Essex. Measuring 6254 yards, this 18 Hole Par 70 course has been created utilising the very best attributes of the natural landscape.

Construction of the course started in 1989 and it was open for play in September 1991. The Clubhouse was converted from an original farmhouse.[11]

Places of interest[edit]

  • The Green Man pub in Toot Hill was burned down in 1896 but rebuilt in 1907.[12]
  • Toot Hill's disused phone box has been transformed into a tourist information kiosk. It now has a variety of leaflets about attractions in Essex and London, useful telephone numbers and a map of the local area. It contains a small stool and table and joins others alike in the country which have been transformed for new uses.[13]
  • The Essex Way footpath runs through Toot Hill from Epping to Harwich. Toot Hill has many small footpaths for walkers and runners. Its high elevation makes it ideal for those wishing to view the Essex countryside from a high viewpoint. This is best at sunset during the summer.
  • The Toot Hill Country Show takes place each year on the first Saturday in August. In recent years the show has relocated three miles to the west to a field at Stanford Rivers. In 2013 the village show celebrated its 60th year. It attracts hundreds of people to events celebrating vintage cars, animals, food and ales.

In the Media[edit]

Blake Hall station, and the surrounding area featured in an episode of Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys in 2012. Portillo rode a train from Blake Hall to North Weald stations whilst explaining the usage of the line in relevance to the surrounding countryside.

Toot Hill road leading away from the village towards Greensted Road and Greensted Green village.

Notable people[edit]

Isaac Taylor (1787-1865), artist, author, and inventor.[2]

Olly Murs (b.1984), an English singer, songwriter, television presenter and actor. Finalist on the sixth series of the X-Factor in 2009. Murs has sold over 10 million records worldwide.[14]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]