The Picnic District 8: Barling Magna Wildlife Reserve

You may not know it, but we are currently in “Love Your Parks Week”. So let’s look at Barling Magna Nature Reserve. A good place for a stroll… and a picnic.

We’ve written before about the reserve:

… The 12 acre site had been part of the Southend Borough’s old defunct sewerage farm and had become a general dumping ground and derelict rubbish site….
….Barling Magna Parish Council owns and maintains this reserve which is run mostly by volunteers from the community and beyond. We aim to apply for grants in order that we can proceed to fulfil our ambition to make this a legacy for the future.

The many hours spent on site have resulted in a green space of which Barling Magna Parish Council is justly proud. Please enjoy the reserve and help us to look after it – it is for all to use!…

If you are driving there, you might pass by Barling's duck pond, which has plenty of ducks!
If you are driving there, you might pass by Barling’s duck pond, which has plenty of ducks!
You might also pass by Barling Church
You might also pass by Barling Church
There are a few tables for picnics
There are a few tables for picnics
There is a barn there- you can't go inside, but there is a large porch for shelter for the rain or strong sun..
There is a barn there- you can’t go inside, but there is a large porch for shelter for the rain or strong sun..
There's birdsong, the chirrups and buzzing of insects, and you can see bumblebees and butterflies
There’s birdsong, the chirrups and buzzing of insects, and you can see bumblebees and butterflies
There's  a pond there...
There’s a pond there…
At the far end of the reserve is the River Roach.
At the far end of the reserve is the River Roach.

The Lost Church Of Shopland

The hamlet of Shopland is in the east of our district, within the parish of Sutton. It used to be a village in its own right, with a village church , St Mary Magdalene, but that has been lost – it was already in a poor state of repair in the 1930s, was damaged during WW2 , and demolished in 1957. However a small team of volunteers are restoring the churchyard. You can find out more on their website:

….Until September 2013, Shopland Churchyard was in an impenetrable state of disrepair. An enthusiastic group of local volunteers have worked tirelessly to restore the site as a Garden of Reflection and a Centre of Learning to ensure that local history is preserved. Our intention is to maintain the site for the many generations to come….

….The area has now been re-seeded thanks to a very generous donation from Bruce at Reads Nursery, Sutton Road. All the team offer a huge thank you for his generosity and interest in the site….

one utterly sad historical footnote:

…The Church saw it’s final service , the baptism of one Anthony Edward Carlick of 4, Slated Row (Died 3 weeks). It was conducted by Rev Williams on 6th September 1940…

Hat-tip: Rochford District Community Archive

Beautiful Barling

barling 1

barling 2

Have you ever looked at the parish website for Barling and Sutton? Someone’s done a very classy job…. Also, Barling Wildlife Reserve looks like a nice place to go to…

In April 1998 a 999 year lease was granted to Barling Magna Parish Council via Rochford District Council from Southend Borough Council and the land was Registered in October 1998.

The 12 acre site had been part of the Southend Borough’s old defunct sewerage farm and had become a general dumping ground and derelict rubbish site…

…. It was necessary to remove a hundred Dutch Elms which had succumbed to the disease and this made way for generous new plantings. Now over 130 specimen trees, mostly native, have been planted and over 400 grant funded hedgerow plants. We are continuously adding to these. On both sides of the reserve there are inaccessible margins between ditches and fences that are left undisturbed.

The two main meadows are linked by footbridges and there are no plans to change them. They will be cut once a year to ensure that early coloniser plants do not take over. Our ambition is to construct a footbridge over the Borrow Dyke and link the reserve to the seawall of the River Roach.

There is another newly created wood to the west side which was planted by schoolchildren in June 2012 to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Lost Walks Of Rochford

Paglesham -lookingouttoWallaseaIsland


From the District Council website


Help us rediscover lost walks and hidden heritage in rural and coastal Rochford District.

Join us on foot or online and help reveal the stories of Rochford’s changing landscape through a series of public walks.

Walk 1: Barling – Wakering
Wednesday 9 July 2014
10am to 2pm
Meet at All Saints Church, Church Road, Barling
Ends at St Nicholas Church, 2 New Road, Great Wakering

Walk 2: Hullbridge – Hockley – Hullbridge
Wednesday 9 July 2014
4pm to 8pm
Walk starts and ends at the Anchor Riverside Pub, Ferry Road, Hullbridge
Free Public Car Park next to the Anchor Inn

Walk 3: Ashingdon – South Fambridge – Canewdon
Thursday 10 July 2014
10am to 2pm
Meet by Ashingdon Primary Academy, Fambridge Road, Ashingdon
Ends at St Nicholas Church, High Street, Canewdon

Walk 4: Canewdon – Wallasea Island – Paglesham East End
Thursday 10 July 2014
4pm to 8pm
Starts at St Nicholas Church, High Street, Canewdon
Ends at The Plough and Sail Public House, East End, Paglesham

Please further information please phone 01702 318171or email

Share your stories and photos of rural and coastal Rochford on the Facebook page in related links

Follow the walks on Twitter @RochfordWalks

Lost Walks of Rochford is led by artists Ali Pretty and Richard White, working with Rochford District Council Arts Development. Ali and Richard regularly collaborate on creative walking projects described as ‘feet on the ground and digitally connected’. Their walks through Rochford District will be documented and archived using social media, mapping and tracking technology.


A Website About Wakering

If you are interested in local history, or the Wakering area, be sure to look at   . The website is full of stuff on Wakering, Barling and Foulness, from executing robbers in Anglo-Saxon times (men were hung, women were drowned) , to a list of people living there in 1874, to the Luftwaffe dropping in during WW2.

My aim is to reveal the history of Great Wakering and its surrounding villages over the past one hundred years. This period covers two World Wars and goes far enough back to the days when, cars, telephones, mobile Phones and computers did not exist. Life was much slower and aspirations lower but most communities co-existed in harmony.



Other Highways Items….

Other highways stuff discussed yesterday included:

Watery Lane – this is almost beyond parody now. We had one business-owner  who explained how Watery Lane has been officially closed for flooding for the last 34 working days. Currently the water is 18 inches deep. Sometimes lorries will come through the water when it isn’t too deep, other time they have to drive a van out to collect the stuff from the lorry somewhere down the road. Apparently the collapsed culvert which is causing the immediate problem can’t be repaired by County Highways until the summer

Tescos at London Road Rayleigh – we agreed to spend £7000 on bollards on the grass verge to prevent vehicles parking.

Spa Road , Hockley  – County Councillor Bonnie Hart said there was ‘utter chaos’ near Sainsbury’s, and we agree to spend £20,000 on railings

The three entrance points to Barling – we agreed to spend £30,000 on ‘village gateways’, to make it extra clear to drives they were entering a 30 mph zone through the village.

Old London Road , Rawreth. We decided NOT to sopend money on signage stating there might be pedestrians in the road. However Chris Black did get the officers to look once again at lowering the speed limit here.

Popes Walk , Rayleigh We refused a request to remove cobble stones because of anti-social behaviour.

Cycleways and Bus Shelters . We decided not to spend any money on new cycleways or replacement bus shelters.



The First Flyers Of Fambridge

Early hot air balloon flight, 1784

The bookstall inside Rayleigh Lanes recently had a couple of copies of “Essex And Its Race For The Skies 1900-1939” by Graham Smith.

As you’d expect from the title, it deals with flying in Essex before WW2. But it also covers flights in Essex before 1900. A really long time before.

Let’s go back to 1783. The Montgolfier Brothers in France invent a hot-air balloon and Etienne Montgolfier makes the first manned ascent. News of this travels fast.

By the next spring there are already flights taken in place in England. On June 3rd 1784 one arrived at Fambridge! According to the diary of John Crosier, A Maldon miller:

“3rd June, a large balloon descended in a field near Fambridge … with Major Money and another gentlemen, both heavy men. They came down about three o’clock in the afternoon, pack’d it up and convy’d it to Maldon in a cart. The car, in the form of a boat, was superb’

It’s not altogether clear that this was South Fambridge rather than North Fambridge. But even so , it must have been a startling site for anyone who saw it. Men descending out of the sky!

Some Of The Recent Planning Applications: Community Support, 3 Houses And A Car Wash

The latest lists of new planning applications can be found on the District Council website here. They are the lists dated March 30th and April 6th. Most of the applications are for extensions etc but there are some bigger ones:

C.F.P. Community Services ( Who provide “Community support for individuals with learning disabilities, mental health illnesses and other conditions, including personal care and transportation to community activities”) have an application in Great Wakering:

12/00072/FUL Parish: Great Wakering Parish Council
Ward: Foulness And Great Wakering
Proposal: Construct Four Bedrooms Within Existing Unit to Accommodate Patients Overnight
Location: Unit 1 Crouchmans Business Yard Poynters Lane
Applicant: C.F.P. Community Services

A retrospective application in Barling Magna:

12/00131/LDC Parish: Barling Magna Parish Council
Ward: Barling And Sutton
Proposal: Retrospective Application For A Certificate Of Lawfulness To Retain Two Detached Building Each For Use As A Dwellinghouse.
To Retain One Building For Use As Stables And One Building For Use As Stable And Tack Room
Location: Land North Of Ropers Farm Mucking Hall Road

Car Wash By Rayleigh Station:

12/00158/FUL Parish: Rayleigh Town Council
Ward: Wheatley
Proposal: Use of Area of Car Park as Car Wash Facility Including Erection of Canopy and Office Building
Location: Car Park Station Approach Station Road

Extra house in Trinity Road, Rayleigh:

Parish: Rayleigh Town Council Ward: Rayleigh Central
Proposal: Subdivide Plot and Construct One Four Bedroomed House with Rooms in Roofspace
Location: Land Adjacent 57 Trinity Road Rayleigh

Extra house in Church Road, Hockley:

12/00147/FUL Parish: Hockley Parish Council Ward: Hockley West
Proposal: Subdivide Site and Construct Two Storey Four Bedroomed Detached House and Detached Garage
Location: Westview, Church Road Hockley

Some Of the New Planning Applications…. Takeaway, Childrens Play, Bigger Bomb Shelter And Bungalows

The latest list of new planning applications can be found on the District Council website here. It’s the list dated March 16th

As usual, most of the applications this week are for house extensions etc. But there are some bigger ones:

Office in Great Wakering to become takeaway:

Parish: Great Wakering Parish Council Ward: Foulness And Great Wakering
Proposal: Change of use From Office (B1) to Takeaway (A3)
Location: Units 13 To 15 Star Lane Industrial Estate Star Lane

Purdeys Industrial Estate – from retail to childrens play:

Parish: Rochford Parish Council Ward: Rochford
Proposal: Change of Use from A1 Retail to Class Use D2 And Use As Childrens Soft Play and Famly Entertainment Centre
Location: 6 Purdeys Way Rochford Essex

Extending a bomb shelter in Barling Magna… for a nursery

12/00151/FUL Parish: Barling Magna Parish Council
Ward: Barling And Sutton
Proposal: Single Storey Extension/Re-Roofing and Refurbishment of Existing Air Raid Shelter to Form Ancillary Room to Main Day Nursery
Location: The Old School 400 Little Wakering Road Barling Magna

Demolish one bungalow in Hockley, and build two:

Parish: Hockley Parish Council Ward: Hockley Central
Proposal: Demolish Existing Bungalow And Construct Pair Of Semi-Detached Bungalows With Parking And Garages, Provide New Vehicular Crossover To Buckingham Road
Location: 58 Main Road Hockley Essex

A Big Sporting Item

Two of the main items at the Development Committee on August 25th deal with Southend United’s proposed new stadium.

Although these applications are just inside Southend Borough, Southend Council are consulting Rochford as the neighbouring authority. The applications are for:


The above consultation was received from the Head of Environmental Planning and Transportation, Southend Borough Council. It was not possible to provide a written report on the schedule for Members’ information, however, further details will be provided in advance of the Committee.
Southend Borough Council is expected to consider the application at Committee in September 2011. District officers will, therefore, provide a full report to the meeting to allow Members to form a view and this will be forwarded to the Borough Council.
For Members’ information; officers have already relayed to Southend Borough Council the comments raised at the Development Committee in June 2011 with regard to the stadium development. Namely, the need for Section 106 agreement monies to be made available for the maintenance of the ditches of the flood attenuation pond and for the travel plan to include provision for away supporters to be directed to the stadium via the A127 rather than via Sutton Road.

You can download the agenda here if you wish (1.16 Mb), though there’s not much more about the stadium.

Southend United Get Extra Time [corrected]

You may remember that Southend United Football Club were given planning permission in 2008 for their proposed new stadium complex at Fossetts Farm. In fact they were given planning permission by two councils – Southend and Rochford, because although most of the site is in Southend Borough, 3 training pitches, 1 allweather floodlit training pitch , a flood attenuation pond and a 454 space car park were ‘over the border’ in Rochford.

Nearly 3 years has passed and the complex hasn’t been started yet, so Southend United had to apply again to extend the time limit for building.

Ron Martin, who came to speak in favour of his application, said hye could confidently predict they could start work in the autumn.

Councillors views were on this mixed.

The ward councillor , Cllr Michael Steptoe, wasn’t a district councillor when the original application was passed. Although in the end he voted for the application, he had some concerns, notably on flooding and the impact of surface water run-off on ditches downstream. Hopefully this will be looked at by Southend Council.

Councillor Colin Seagers said he had supported the original application but would vote against this time. opposed the original application and would still vote against this time.

Councillor Chris Lumley made the point that refusing to extend the time limit would only lead to an appeal, and probably heavy costs awarded against the council. He was immediately backe up on this by the committee chairma, Phil Capon.

In the end, the application was passed