In November 2003 a public meeting which was attended by approximately 40 villagers, was held to discuss the Shadoxhurst ‘Wish List’ which had been distributed to all households in the village. From approximately 438 households, 129 forms were returned and, on the basis of villagers’ concerns and their needs expressed in the Wish List, it was decided to elect a team of villagers at a future time to form the Shadoxhurst Parish Plan Steering Committee. It was this Committee that produced the Shadoxhurst Questionnaire which was widely distributed at the Village Fete in September 2004. 130 completed forms were returned and this paper below presents the breakdown of the answers to the questions.
The Heart of the Village
Because of the distinctive long and spread-out shape of the Village, it is not easy to pinpoint the heart of the village. This results in a feeling of isolation for some villagers, especially for people living in the Nickley Wood area, and a lack of cohesion for village issues and events. In the 2004 questionnaire, villagers were asked to choose where they considered was the heart of the village. 44% chose The Kings Head, 20% the Village Hall and the Church took just 5.6% of the votes, whilst 15% did not know.
Although the success of the September 2004 Village Fete and Boot Sale which was held in the grounds of the King’s Head supports the ‘heart of the village’ view, the continuing popularity of the Guy Fawke’s Night event held in the village recreation field (above) also draws attention to the importance of this field to Village activities. The Recreation Field was purchased for the Parish in 1977 and sees many football games and children’s events whilst the Pavilion (above) situated at the entrance to the field, hosts various meetings, such as the Mother and Toddlers Group, whilst the local Scout Group has its own hut.
The Village Hall (above) remains a focal point for many activities and regular meetings of local interest groups as well as Parish Council meetings. The site was purchased in the 1950s and the hall was erected with the help of voluntary labour.
There are various thriving village groups, including the Gardening Club, Flowers Arrangers, Darby and Joan, Ladies Social Club, Short Mat Bowls, Little Scholars Nursery, the Karate Club and a gentlemen’s Breakfast Club. A successful and popular new initiative arising from the Villager’s requests are the regular Village Walks.
The village shop, located at Stubb’s Cross, is the only one in the immediate locality. Although for some villagers the shop is considered to be too far from their home to be viable for local shopping, the Post Office is widely used and the owners have extended the range of goods available and provided extra parking spaces. Some villagers have asked for a general shop more centrally situated, ie close to Church or Pub, whilst many are happy with their proximity to Ashford town centre facilities.