My Favourite Village
PUBLISHED: 17:15 21 October 2013 | UPDATED: 17:15 21 October 2013
Susie Cornell MBE, Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, picks Little Baddow
Which is your favourite Essex village?
Little Baddow, which is on top of the highest hill in Essex.
What do you like most about Little Baddow?
We love taking our dogs down the hill to the tea rooms at Paper Mill Lock, which is where you can spend time watching the boats coming in and out of the lock while eating strawberry cream teas. It is a secret jewel of Essex.
Have you always lived in the village or are you an outsider?
I was born in Birmingham and then lived in London, where I met my husband. We have lived in Little Baddow for 30 years.
What are your first memories of spending time in the village?
I remember the cricket field which runs alongside the lane where I live. Coming from the big city, it is so typically English to see cricket being played there on a Sunday afternoon.
Have things changed in Little Baddow much since that time?
Bigger houses are now being built, replacing smaller cottage-type dwellings. A younger generation are bringing innovation and modern ideas which is giving the village of very exclusive appeal. We have lost our local delicatessen and butchers and now have to travel to a nearby village.
Who are the characters you most enjoy bumping into in the village?
We see many ramblers and walkers, and one group is a set of teenagers participating in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. I love bumping into Rita, who still lives in the house where she was born at the top of our lane. She has so many interesting stories to tell about the village and the people who have lived there, including sporting celebrities from both past and present such as Jimmy Greaves and Nasser Hussain.
What do you think the future holds for Little Baddow?
I hope that the present character of the village is maintained in terms of community spirit and activity, and that any new development is kept to an absolute minimum.
Does the village have a local pub?
It has two pubs, The General’s Arms and the Rodney. Both are very different in character, but you can always find someone who can ‘fix your electrics’, or at least someone who knows someone who can.
What is it that keeps the community spirit of this village alive?
The Memorial Hall is central to the village and offers film and quiz nights. Every year there is an Open Gardens Day which is held in May. This creates a good community spirit and it raises funds for our 11th century church of St Mary the Virgin. All of this would not be possible without the enthusiasm and commitment of the villagers.
Where do you find the best view in Little Baddow?
Situated at the bottom of my lane is Blakes Wood which dates back to mediaeval times and is listed in the Domesday Book. In the spring it is carpeted with bluebells and home to a variety of birds including kingfisher, woodpecker, nightingale and skylark. This view changes with the seasons but will always provide me with the best view in the village.
Is there one thing you need to know about the village to be considered a ‘local’?
To recognise that there is a reason why things are the way they are and not to change them!