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Essex: Not what everyone thinks!
Hockley is not the chavy essex town anyone thinks it is. It is a small (but growing) village situated 10mins on the train from Southend on Sea.
Its not beautiful but its home.
Everyone is friendly, sure you get your thugs and your crime but doesnt everywhere these days? Infact I reckon Hockley is very low in the crime rating league tables...not a lot happens really!!
From small coffee shops and the local variety of pubs we have it all really. I would say there are tooooooo many takeways but again thats just typical of anyway these days.
There are lots of bus stops dotted about, not totally reliable but there is normally one every 20mins or so. Furthermore you have the train! On the 'ONE RAILWAY' line, running from Southend to London Liverpool Street. Superb and fast. Not too expensive either. Not too friendly blokes work there but they always give good deals.
I cannot finish this without mentioning the schooling. Its superb in Hockley. More than 2 primary schools - both brill. I attended plumberow (as did my 2 siblings) and we loved it. I has recently been taken over by a new head but as an ex teacher i know him well. He's great too. Theres also greensward and lots lots more
I could talk forever. But the best way is to visit. Take the countryside walks (found on the councils website), have a coffee in 'URBAN' in the village, and pop down to a local superb garden centre - RIVERSIDE.
want to know more? just message me
My village is situated close to the pleasant small town of Rayleigh and is approximately 8 miles west of Southend on Sea and 5 miles east of Basildon. Hockley is an Old English name meaning a woodland clearing belonging to a man called Hocca. It is also where hocks and mallows grow. This is Old Essex and Neolithic people moved from the banks of the River Crouch to the wooded hilly areas around my village, working the land until a population of 400 was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1066. With a present day population of nearly 10,000 I have seen much of this increase over recent decades as a large new estate rose up on a farm close to the village and "progress" brought with it a supermarket, the ubiquitous takeaways and motor traffic. Do you fancy there is a moan there? I suppose you do as I remember clearly a quiet rural backwater which people living only a few miles away only vaguely knew existed. The days when a fire siren had shopkeepers turning out customers and locking their doors before leaping on to the fire engine have now gone as has my stop off for a break in the old house which housed Barclays bank. Although not a customer I would sit at the shabby wooden table in front of the tellers windows and chat while I enjoyed a cigarette. Nowdays double yellow lines mean that I can't move from shop to shop, parking as I go or chat to people on either side of the street as I sit on my horse bang in the middle of the road. Not that I would light a cigarette now anyway even if the crumbly old dwelling house was not now a sparkly new building with a cashpoint outside. Yet despite all this my home is situated behind the largest stretch of woods (over 1000 years old) in this part of Essex which are also home to some of the country's rarest wildlife. From my windows I can look north through the trees down to the River Crouch and on a dark night can see the distant lights of Colchester from behind the far
side of the valley. Essex is not the flat boring county which is supposed. From the Rayleigh Hills, which take in Hockley and are crowned with woodland, there are beautiful views of farmland and river and this is a favoured area for ramblers. As I walk the farm opposite my home which is also where I keep my horse, I stand on a ridge and watch sparrow hawks hunting, spot with delight a weasel craning its long neck as it spies me before disappearing into the hedgerow and see a flash of colour from a woodpecker which has strayed from the woods. Badgers, foxes, owls and rabbits are all here for me. Below me, standing on its own high hill is the 12th century Church of St Peter and Paul, a much photographed and painted building. This is a land of ancient history, from the battle fought between Edmund Ironside and King Canute in nearby Ashingdon to the hunting ground of Henry V111, whose lodge is now a restaurant in Rayleigh. During the 19th century the spa waters at Hockley were visited for their benefits and the old pump room, still in private ownership, is a listed building. The Spa hotel in the centre of the village still stands and it was said that should the cellar flood it would be spa water that rose. Could be apocryphal, but a nice story. Standing between newer dwellings in the main street is China Cottage, a tiny house covered completely in pieces of coloured china and at the fork which divides the road through the village is the now fortunately empty site of an old gallows. Here also is the Essex of ghosts and it is said that a stagecoach which overturned killing its passengers can still be seen on the lane which runs steeply downhill from Hockley to the village of Hullbridge on the River Crouch. I haven't seen it, but it is a dark creepy spot at dusk at the junction of a heavily wooded and unmade road. I had my own lonely experience not far from here. On a sunny morning with no hedgerow beside me, a clear uninterrupte
d view and no sounds or sudden movement to disturb the air my bomproof horse leapt clear across the road (fortunately clear of traffic) and stood a sweating trembling mess after I had struggled desperately to control him. Chilled and badly shaken I mentioned it to others on my return. "Oh yes", they replied, "We don't ride past there if we can help it. It is scary." We are able to live on a variety of local produce and most of our mushrooms and potatoes are locally grown with old farming families rearing beef and dairy cattle as well as growing wheat, barley, peas, beans and the usual pick-your-own fruits. For those into sport we have golf courses, sailing, paint balling and clay pigeon shooting as well as the local team sports. Most prominent is the horse population with 8 stableyards within a short distance of each other and thriving competitive seasons for horse shows followed by hunter trials in the autumn and spring. The competitions range from those for enthusiastic kiddies to more seriously competitive riders and the bridleways and off road land allow hours of pleasure. Not surprisingly we are well served with farriers, feed stores and specialist horse vets, so count ourselves very lucky indeed. Hockley is just a dot on the map sandwiched between Rayleigh, Hullbridge and Rochford and many of its residents are commuters. It is certainly not a tourist "must-see" and nobody is going to drive a distance to find us. However it attracts ramblers to walk its many footpaths and families from nearby towns to stroll our woodland paths..... until they leave the boundaries and look across the fields to the crowded town that they left behind for a morning. Even if we didn't have the best weather in the UK it suits me and I hope I never leave it to live elsewhere. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you want to take part, please include MY HOMETOWN in the title and include
the following paragr aph: This review is part of the HOMETOWN challenge where members are asked to write about any aspect of their hometown - or a town they'd like/not like to be their hometown. You can find all the participants by going to: http://members.dooyoo.co.uk/servlets/ OpinionConnector?template=prd_opn_main&opinionID=426988&action=&action=removeSessi o nID