The Little Green Hut

posted 2 Jan 2014, 07:20 by Brian Dukes

The Little Green Hut, Mordiford

The Little Green Hut lies on the banks of the Pentaloe River, not far from the Moon Pub, and opposite the burial ground on the Woolhope Road. A telephone kiosk lies near by.


The hut was constructed from timber and corrugated iron, to house a weighbridge. All sorts of things were weighed.  Limestone, for building work and road making, and quicklime, for lime mortar and agricultural use, came from Scutterdine as well as other quarries in the area. Timber and charcoal were brought down from Haugh Wood.  Charcoal was used as a fuel and for industrial purposes.  Much of the timber was harvested for pit props needed in the coalmines of South Wales. A few were transported  by road but most were put on railway trucks at Holme Lacy.  Bark, as a source of tannin, was removed from oak and transported to the Midlands for use in the leather industry.  The remaining timber from Haugh Wood was used for building and firewood.


Cider fruit, harvested from the surrounding orchards, was weighed at the Green Hut and transported to the new Bulmers’ Cider factory, in Ryelands Street. 


Cattle and sheep were weighed on their way to the new Hereford Cattle Market in Blueschool Street.


Herefordshire County Council operated the weighbridge. The fees charged were dependant on the weight and the product being weighed. Higher fees were charged for the more valuable products such as livestock and fruit.

The weighbridge was removed long ago. The Little Green Hut remains and has been part of our village life over the years.


After the removal of the weighbridge, the County Council used the Little Green Hut as a lengths-man’s store. Lengths-men were the people responsible for maintaining rural roads.  Our lengths-man left his wheelbarrow, pick and shovel in the hut overnight, and used it as a place of refuge in bad weather, and a place to sit and eat his breakfast.  When needed, he borrowed a hand operated coal-fired furnace to melt tar for sealing repairs to potholes.  The furnace, coal and tar he also stored in the Little Green Hut.


When the County Council employed centrally deployed gangs to carry out road repairs, the Little Green Hut was left empty.  Soon the lock disappeared and it became available for other purpose.  Here are some but you might remember others?


The bus service has been operating through Mordiford for a long time but until the Much Marcle service started operating though Checkley,  it followed the main road. People from outlying areas walked, sometimes a number of miles, to reach the bus stop. One woman used her bike to get to the Mordiford bus stop. The bike was safely stored in the Little Green Hut.


The school bus driver became annoyed when three boys lit up cigarettes at the back of his bus.  The boys thought it too risky to continue, so they alighted from the bus at the Moon, walked round the corner and lit up in the Little Green Hut. They believed no one had seen them until the Headmaster invited them to stay behind after morning assembly for a little chat.


Two girls cycled from Hereford to Haugh Wood to enjoy glorious weather on a Sunday afternoon.  While they were enjoying refreshments at the car park in Haugh Wood, they realised that the weather had changed and a thunderstorm was about to break.  They set off back on their return journey but as they were passing the Little Hut the storm broke, with hailstones the size of peas.  They had no option but to dive for cover.  It was several hours before the rain stopped, but they were able to continue their ride back to Hereford, perfectly dry.  


A number of children walked to Mordiford School, all the way from Checkley. The path through Bear’s Wood and Haugh Wood was often muddy and the children left their boots in the Little Green Hut, changing into house shoes, or daps as they used to call them. They changed back into boots for their muddy trek home.  For unknown reasons, they didn’t like to change their boots in school.


A girl, working in the village, lived at Bagpiper’s Tump.  Each day she walked down through the orchards, past Mordiford Mill.  The miller acquired some boisterous cattle and the girl became frightened about passing through the mob. Her father, appreciating her anxiety, cut a hazel stick to protect her from the threatening cattle. She carried this stick every day but she didn’t want to be seen with it. Whilst she was at work, she stored it safely in The Little Green Hut.


One of the regulars at the Moon often stayed drinking until closing time. On one or two occasions he was unable to find his way home.  He was attracted by the lights in the telephone kiosk and used the Little Green as a place to sleep for the rest of the night.


Wildlife also made use of The Little Green Hut. A mallard built a nest behind it.  She laid a dozen eggs but a family of brown rats, living in the banks of the Pentaloe, made off with them before they were hatched.  A robin was more successful. An old paint pot was used to raise a whole nest full of fledglings.


In more recent years the Little Green Hut has become a handy place to dump the rubbish found on the roadside.   Lost hubcaps, milk bottle crates, empty bottles, plastic bags and drinks cans, all find their way into the Little Green Hut.  Jam jars, collected from the graveyard opposite, were often stored in the Little Green Hut.  This followed the posting of a notice in the graveyard requesting  glass bottles  to be removed. The jam jars had been used as vases on the graves.


From time to time a well-meaning parishioner secured the door of The Little Green Hut with nails, to prevent further rubbish being deposited. This was too much for the inquisitive.  Each time it was secured, it was forced open to disclose the hidden treasure in the Little Green Hut. 

For many years the shutter on the roadside window has been used as an unofficial notice board.  Adverts for the hire of chimney sweeps, gardeners, baby sitters etc., have been posted together with various announcements including the list of winners in the Mordiford 200 Club and details of the route of a motor rally due to pass though the parish.


During the floods of 2011 and again in 2012, the Little Green Hut has been badly damaged.  The water has forced one of the walls outwards and the door no longer swings on its hinges. The whole building is now tipping into the Pentaloe River.


What should be done?  It is likely that if no rescue operation is attempted, the Little Green Hut will disappear in a matter of months.  Higher floods are expected in the future, and the Little Green Hut will have little chance of survival without remedial action being taken now.


Does this matter?


Perhaps you have personal stories which will help convince others that the Little Green Hut is part of our heritage. If it is, we cannot afford to lose it.  Is it worthy of being listed?    What do you think?  What further uses can be made of our Little Green Hut?


Make your views known.  Share your stories with of us.  We really need to know what is the best action to take.