South Woodham Ferrers facts for kids

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South Woodham Ferrers
South Woodham Ferrers shown within Essex
Population 16,453 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference TQ812970
District
Shire county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CHELMSFORD
Postcode district CM3 5SE
Dialling code 01245
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament
  • Maldon
List of places
UK
England
EssexCoordinates: 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 mi (56 km) from London and, according to the 2001 census, has a population of 16,629, reducing to 16,453 at the 2011 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.

History

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.

Transport

Road

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.

Rail

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

Ferry

There is a ferry across the River Crouch to Hullbridge and Rayleigh and other destinations including Southend Airport which is about 10 km or 6 miles away.

Music

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 men2sing.org.uk). It is also home to an all-female choir, The Swift Singers.

Other

In Summer 2006, South Woodham Ferrers elected its first town mayor, Councillor Ian Roberts.


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