This is Jack Hayden’s recollections of the village ponds. In 2006, during the last year of his life, he took the trouble to take me around the village one morning and pointed out the sites of many former ponds. The numerous dark-shaded irregular shapes in the map below identify each pond and watercourse in Crow Street, Main Street, Chickney Road, and Wood End Green.
A drainage ditch, fed by the nearby fields, ran from near Peter Smith’s current house into the Weary/Wary Pond.
A path used to run from the main road down the side of what is now Mr. Wright’s bungalow (lies behind Wary Pond) to Widdington. Plans to build houses on the plot, just after the war, for returning servicemen were rejected. However, 25 years later houses were built on the plot of the land as the building plans had never been rescinded by the council.
There was a large pond outside ‘The Springs’ cottage at Woodend Green. This site is now part of the land of the adjacent ‘Prompt Corner’.
The next pond was at ‘Dragon Halt’ but has been removed. The next was a small narrow pond (now next to Mr. Judd’s new property) but since filled in. This was fed from the Wary Pond by a small pipe. There was another brook outside ‘Bays Cottage’ but again, this has since been filled in. This brook fed into Lamberts Pond and there were open ditches all the way to ‘Lamberts’. Mrs. Camp lived at ‘Trelawny’. There was a fish & chip shop at the gate of ‘Bays Cottage’.
There was a pond outside the former Ash House (immediately west of Bay’s Cottage), that pond was then piped across the road to Henleys and the ditch followed past the Village Hall into Hall Close, past The Glebe to Carters Lane, and all the way to Pledgdon Hall. A toy boat could sail here all the way from the Wary. This was around the 1930s and the kids used to pick violets on the way to the Hall where they could see the boats arrive.
There was a pond outside the former Bell pub and it went all the way down to the ‘Willows’ by the war memorial via a series of ditches and ponds. Wetherdens had a shop/pub possibly called ‘The White Hart’ just before ‘Star‘. The men use to relieve themselves in the pond and the pond was used to brew the beer.
Jack put in the sleepers at Bury Pond some 30 yrs ago (c.1970s).
The Willows, Bury, and Lambert ponds. The most familiar ponds today are those between the war memorial and ‘Clematis Cottage’. They are called, respectively – ‘Willows’, ‘Bury’ (either side of the entrance to Bury Lodge), and ‘Lamberts’.
There was a pond outside Bacons Farm and then run down to where the rail track use to be and into the Cam. A second one (by Mead Lane) would feed in closer to the railway station pipes run under Vernons Close to take the water down to open ditches and Mill Pond. To seal a pond, put in a load of reject stones followed by chalk.
Other information about the village
Miss Gilbey owned the shop now called ‘Pleasant Cottage’ at Woodend Green. It was taken over by two spinsters. A trust was set up years ago for the people who were hard up and there is still money paid today.
Debden Green – the children used to travel to school from Debden Green, predominately the Lindsells
The well-head outside the church is a fake.