Loddon is a small but expanding market town with a population of about 2600. It is an attractive and vibrant South Broadland Town and was awarded the East Anglian Village of the year title in 2005 and finished second in the national competition. This was in recognition of many organisations who work together to build a community spirit that is second to only one!
Loddon was in the past mainly an agricultural community, but is now predominantly a commuter settlement for Norwich, Lowestoft and beyond. Housing is a mixture of owner occupied, privately rented and local authority accommodation.
There are three schools in Loddon – Infant and Nursery, Junior and High School - which serve a large number of villages. There is sheltered accommodation in the form of flats and bungalows. The nearest hospital is The Norfolk and Norwich. The population is one that is mixed in every way with facilities for people of all ages. There is a toddler group, two Nurseries, a group for bereaved people, day centre and clubs and societies that reflect all tastes.
In addition Loddon has a post office, doctors surgery, dentist, opticians and other shops and amenities. Norwich is only twenty minutes away – a busy and growing city. Loddon is a tourist centre as it is on the Norfolk Broads – there is a staithe in the town and has approximately 4,000 visitors per summer. It has its own very good website.
Known as “The Church in Loddon” the church has been united with the Methodists since 1976. There is a sharing agreement with the Roman Catholic church on both buildings – the Anglican church (Holy Trinity, pictured right) and the Methodist Chapel (St John's, pictured left). Services are held in Holy Trinity in the warmer months (May to November) and in St John's for the winter.
Chedgrave is an ancient village on the banks of the river Chet. Today it consists largely of 1960s residential properties. When the 2001 census was taken it had a population of 985 in 430 households. Most of the houses in Chedgrave are bungalows and this has led to quite a high proportion of older people in the village.
The village is quite compact (although there is also a large stretch of marshland near Haddiscoe which is technically part of Chedgrave church parish). On its outskirts there are a number of small boatyards and a caravan site, which serve the Norfolk Broads holiday trade. There are also a number of small businesses, offering local employment opportunities.
Chedgrave has a useful number of shops including a baker, greengrocer, general store and launderette; a nursery; community rooms; and a Nursing Home. The local pub, the White Horse, is popular and it hosts a well-attended carol service there on the Sunday before Christmas.
All Saints, Chedgrave is almost certainly Saxon in origin, according to an archeological survey carried out in 1986. The fine archways at the North and South doors are later Norman embellishments dating from about 1157 AD. The survey also revealed that the church was originally cruciform in shape. The east end extended some 3m beyond the present east window and there was a south tower or chapel. In the unusual thatched tower at the north east end of the church is a very old wall decoration, possibly dating to Norman times. The east window is unusual, having been glazed with glass from continental Europe, much of it having come from the abbey at Steinfeld in Germany.
In 1993 a two-storey extension was built onto the west end of the church, giving a flexible and useful space, including kitchen and toilet. It was dedicated on the 18th June 1993. These church rooms are used by a number of church and community groups.
Sisland is a tiny hamlet set in peaceful Norfolk countryside 1.5 miles west of Loddon. There are about 44 people living in the village which comprises eight private houses, one converted barn (two dwellings) and three farms.
The church of St Mary, Sisland is the only community building in the village – although there is a post box in the wall of one of the farm outbuildings. It serves a traditional, but very lively, parish with a core from the village of Sisland and others gathered from surrounding villages.The churchyard is a conservation area and was used as the launch for the Living Churchyard project.
The smallest Church in the Chet Valley Benefice is having a ‘face lift’ –
the East gable which has become rather porous – is undergoing brick and stone repairs to combat the ravages of time, work commenced on June 1st. We have also felled and trimmed trees that were blocking light and air.
We now know that after the lightning strike in the late 17 hundreds, the medieval flint structure was encased in brick, giving us todays delightful Georgian Church.
Visitors are very welcome to ‘Read all about it’ on the story boards in this quiet contemplative spot. We shall look forward to meeting you at our Sunday afternoon teas in August.
Langley with Hardley
For many years this has been one village sharing one parish council, but with two parish churches – St Margaret’s Hardley and St Michael’s Langley, though for regular worship Hardley acts as the place of worship; St Michael’s role has been largely as a school chapel to Langley School.
These are rural Norfolk villages on the edge of the marshes – there are no shops, and the local primary school closed some years ago. There is a village hall and a well equipped playground. There is a wide social mix of people made up of farmers, farm workers and commuters and the housing reflects this with a mix of owner occupied, privately rented and local authority housing. The combined population is approximately 350.