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South Woodham Ferrers
South Woodham Ferrers is located in Essex
South Woodham Ferrers
South Woodham Ferrers
Population 16,453 (2011)
OS grid reference TQ812970
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CM3
Dialling code 01245
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament
  • Maldon
List of places
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.

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 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.

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, Rivendell Vale, Celeborn Street, Hobbiton Hill and Arwen Drive.

Town 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.

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

Bushy Hill (a.k.a. "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 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 well secured with a security gatehouse, anti-climb heras 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.



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 is the home of a male voice choir. Originally named after the town, it now performs under the name of men2sing. (Member, National Association of Choirs. Website It is also home to an all-female choir, The Swift Singers.


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. 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

  • Terry Alderton, comedian, actor, and television presenter
  • Gordon Southern, comedian
  • James Harper, professional footballer
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