of Hethel and Bracon Ash
Potash Farm, Hethel
Michael Coates, who lived at Hethel Camp, remembers: 'The farmer with whom I had most contact was Mr Walker of Potash Farm. The Walker family as a whole involved themselves in local activities. Mrs Walker was an excellent organiser of jumble sales, etc. She was usually assisted by her daughter (or maybe daughter-in-law) who lived in the half-timbered house known as "Little Potash". Mr Walker was a typical bluff Norfolk farmer who didn't say very much. He had a wooden leg and would often be seen riding around on an old bicycle with the pedal disconnected on the side with his wooden leg. With only one leg for propulsion his progress was normally slow but his unique style of riding made him easily recognisable from some distance.... the Walker family did have a car, an old Vauxhall with registration number BCL 22. The Walker's younger son was Peter and he was well-known throughout the village because he delivered the milk in a traditional horse-drawn milk cart.
I recall one occasion when I fell foul of Mr Walker. He farmed the field next to the chapel, half of which was grass and the other half cultivated. Although there was a proper footpath through the residential area, it was common practice to take a shortcut across Mr Walker's field. One afternoon I was making my way across the grass when I saw Mr Walker making his slow way along the road on the far side. He clearly saw me and stopped by the gate... I was in the middle of the field with nowhere to hide so had little choice but to continue walking. When I was almost there he asked me where I thought I was going. 'Just to the road', I told him meekly. 'No you're not', he told me, 'you're going all the way back and round the proper way'. He then remained seated on his bicycle and watched me sheepishly retrace my steps back to the other side of the field. My main worry was whether he had recognised me and would report me to my parents.... Much to my relief I never heard any more, but I certainly never took that shortcut again because the consequences of getting caught twice were unimaginable.'
Hall Road farms
There were several small farms reached via Hall Road - formerly the road to Hethel Hall.
Again, from Michael Coates: 'My father disposed of a quantity of poultry equipment to the farmer at Wood House Farm, which he passed every day on his way to work.
....By the Hall Road entrance (to Hethel Camp) was the Wharton's farm where there were two boys. These boys were unusual in that they were some of the few village children who went to the camp school.
Much more recently, Hethel Hens was established when the owners put in a successful bid for land that had belonged to Colin Chapman (of Lotus fame) and was commandeered by the government after the DeLorean debacle. The office is next to the former base chapel, and the farmer does much to help those who keep the memory of the 389th Heavy Bombardment Group alive and organise monthly open days throughout the summer.
Hens were the mainstay of Hope Farm in Cranes Road, Hethel. This small-holding was given over to egg production in the 1950 and '60s, run by Geoffrey & Monica Wright. There was one large broiler-house, the concrete base of which still remains. Pigs were a by-line, but became the mainstay after fowl pest closed down poultry-rearing in the late '60s. The farmhouse stayed in the family when the current owner bought it from her aunt.