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District Tour

About the District

The Rochford District has its own charm and is richly steeped in history and enchantment with a proud past and a bright future.

Within the 65 square miles of Rochford District you will find plenty of character, miles of unspoilt coastline and attractive countryside. The historic Hockley Woods (the remains of a royal forest), the island of Foulness, internationally famous as a haven for wildlife, and the Roach Valley Conservation Zone.

It boasts a large number of listed buildings, including Rochford Hall, one time home of the Boleyn family and The Old House in South Street, built in 1270 and allegedly haunted! The outlying town of Rayleigh contains the site of a Norman castle, and Rayleigh Windmill, built in 1798. In 1016 the Danes, led by King Canute, met the Saxon army of Edmund Ironside in a very significant battle in the Crouch Valley between Ashingdon and Canewdon, Canute was the victor and later built a church at Ashingdon.

Rochford is close to the main line station to Southend and London (which is less than an hour away) and part of the South East Thames Gateway which covers broadly the area east of the M25, bounded to the south by the Thames River and to the north by the A13 as far as Basildon, then the A127 as far as Southend, spanning the five districts of Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock. According to the census in 2011, some 650,000 people live within the wards of Thames Gateway South Essex.

Recreation needs are fully catered for with 3 golf courses in the District, and sports centres in Hawkwell, Rawreth and Great Wakering. Miles of open countryside, footpaths, sea wall and woodlands offer a great range of recreation activities. The 200 acre Cherry Orchard Jubilee Park provides a leisure facility of natural woodland walks, lakes and bridleways, as well as creating a valuable ecological resource. Sailing enthusiasts can find much scope on the Roach and Crouch rivers, and there is a marina at Wallasea Island.

If you visit Rochford on a Tuesday, which is a traditional weekly market day ongoing since 1247, look out for the commemorative plaque in the Square where John Simson was burnt at the stake on the 10 November, 1555, for his Protestant convictions. Lunch in one of the cafes or pubs and view the library and Barratt Homes complex appropriately named 'The Square' bringing in new residents and commuters.

The town centre contains one of the few remaining market town cross patterns in England, comprising north, South, East and West Streets