Village voice - Danbury

Each month Essex Life invites the editor of a parish magazine to tell us what makes their community so special

Looking up in Danbury

Sue Ferguson, editor of the Danbury Contact community magazine, picks out some seasonal Christmas events taking place in this village where residents are always enjoying the high life

SET just five miles from the centre of Chelmsford in one direction and five miles from the charming town of Maldon in the other direction, is the picturesque village of Danbury. The village is located on a hilltop overlooking the county town, occupying one of the highest points in Essex, and is inhabited by approximately 6,500 people. The spire of the Parish

Church of St John the Baptist is outlined on Danbury ridge as a clear landmark and is visible from the A12 and from many local vantage points as it stands 365 feet above sea level. Built on the site of an Iron Age fort, archaeologists have established that Danbury was occupied as a settlement from at least as early as 500BC. The present church is a Grade I listed building and there has been a church on the site from at least 1233 and quite possibly considerably before that.

Surrounded by extensive open countryside and woodland, much of which is protected by the Essex Wildlife Trust and the National Trust, this community has much to be proud of. Danbury Country Park’s lakes were formed when the park was created in the 13th century. Later these lakes became part of the ornamental gardens of Danbury Palace, a former bishop’s residence.

The park, nature reserves and common land offer extensive woodland walks and paths which are freely open to the public. These abound with varying habitats for flora and fauna featuring woodland, heathland, meadows, streams and bogs.Protecting these priceless parts of village life is The Danbury Society which is committed to village conservation and aims to protect the natural beauty of the local landscape and involve the residents of Danbury in interests and pursuits to enrich village life. As reward for these efforts, this year Danbury was also awarded a merit certificate in Class I of the Best Kept Village Competition.

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The busy A414 runs through the centre of the village of Danbury which incorporates four churches, four schools and many public houses where excellent food is served. Benches on the village green provide an excuse to sit by the pond and watch the world go by and this delightful spot is surrounded by pretty houses, shops and businesses.Across the road is the playing field and children’s playground, which under the care of parish council staff, regularly wins awards and commendations. Beyond this is the village sports and social centre which provides an opportunity to take part in many sports as well as facilities for a gym, dance classes and special events including a farmers’ market and a WI market. A bowling green and tennis courts are also available in the village.

The village hall is always a hive of activity and is renowned for its regular community events including exhibitions and jumble sales. At this time of the year many extra events are planned. The annual Joint Church Carol Service on the Village Green is accompanied by the Salvation Army Band and this year will be held on the evening of Wednesday, December 9. The Danbury Players will also be staging their popular pantomime in the village hall from December 17 to 20, which this year is Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Christmas craft fairs and bazaars organised by the many social clubs and organisations in the village continue throughout the festive season and you’ll find details at

Sue Ferguson – EditorDanbury Contact Magazine

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