Langford and Ulting
The villages of Langford and Ulting lie a few miles to the north west of the picturesque market town and port of Maldon, in Essex. Both are ancient settlements having been inhabited long before their mention in the Domesday Book.
Langford is notable for its fine Norman church, St Giles, believed to be the only church in Britain with a western facing apse and for the Grade I listed steam pump at the original Waterworks Pumping Station which now houses the Museum of Power.
The Village Hall, shared with Ulting, is a converted 18th century cowshed which retains many original features including beautiful brickwork. Langford takes its name from the historic ford crossing the river Blackwater which runs through the centre of the village. The road to Maldon now crosses the river by a modern bridge, but the ford was restored by the Parish Council in celebration of the Millennium. Langford is an excellent centre for walkers and the many paths running through the village include the Maldon Millennium Way and the Rail Trail following the track of the disused railway line to Witham.
Ulting, the neighbouring parish to Langford, has its centre close to the river Chelmer. The river was canalised in the late 18th century following the design of the Scottish engineer, John Rennie and was used until recent times to carry bulk materials from the coast to Chelmsford. The river is now a tranquil recreational facility for boating, walking and angling.
The tiny village church of All Saints, which stands on the bank of the river, dates from the 12th century and was at one time a place of pilgrimage ranking with Walsingham and other famous shrines. Ulting is also notable for being the location of the first sugar beet factory in England although its useful life was cut short by competition from cheap imports of cane sugar.
Langford and Ulting have a combined Parish Council, which represents the interest of some 250 residents. Although there is some industry in the villages, the landscape is essentially rural and much has Conservation Area protection. Despite its modest size, it has an active community which takes pride in its location and welcomes visitors.