Essex is understood for a large number of issues, however its coast isn’t one in every of them. That’s a pity because it’s house to a numerous birdlife and one phase is probably the most remoted spot within the nation.

Additionally learn: strolling the Essex Manner 

In fact, there are the necessary caravan parks however they’re basically clustered across the cities and what lies between is wild and unspoilt. It’s additionally the atmosphere for a brand new Apple TV+ collection, The Essex Serpent.

Additionally learn: Why Mersea Island in Essex is the very best position to calm down in a caravan

This long-distance hike begins at the Saltmarsh Coast Path in Tollesbury, basically following the ocean wall, and is going south all of the approach to the Thames. It crosses 3 rivers, the Blackwater, the Crouch and the Roach, earlier than arriving in Southend after which carries on previous Canvey Island to Tilbury at the Thames.

Day 1 Tollesbury to Maldon 6.5 hours, 16 miles

 

It’s overcast however dry as I take a taxi from Witham, which drops me at Tollesbury Marina. The tide’s out, the boats are resting at the dust and there’s no one round. I stroll at the seawall round Tollesbury Wick, a space designated as a nature reserve, with Mersea Island reverse. Within the distance is Bradwell Nuclear Energy Station, someplace I’ll move the next day.

The birdlife is ample, with a whole lot of waders, and the one other folks I see are a pair accumulating shellfish within the shallows. There’s not anything else for any other 3 hours earlier than I achieve the caravan parks, simply out of doors Maldon. Unexpectedly there are canine walkers, pubs with drinkers out of doors, but it surely’s nonetheless far round a lot of inlets earlier than I achieve Maldon.

My lodging is on the best of the one hill for miles, and I’m relieved to discard my boots and soak my ft in a scorching bathtub.

Day 2 St Lawrence to Othona 8 Miles 3 Hours

After the day gone by’s interminable inlets, quite than face extra of the similar, I make a decision to cheat and take the bus. It drops me off at St Lawrence, any other caravan haven, and I prompt alongside the seawall. It’s sunny with a gradual breeze, and there are lots of sea birds feeding within the water. I quickly arrive at Bradwell Marina, chock stuffed with boats and there’s even a pub, however I don’t linger.

The nuclear energy station looms forward, lengthy decommissioned. despite the fact that there are plans to restart.  I will be able to see the village of West Mersea, shut around the channel, and closer, at water’s edge, are sunken barges, and improvised sea defences.

Ruined pillboxes are dotted alongside the shore, as soon as a coverage towards German invasion. I move lengthy shell seashores with the occasional seated fishermen. Quickly I’ved became the nook and arrive on the Othona neighborhood the place I’ll be spending the night time.

Day 3 Othona to Burnham on Crouch 16 Miles 6 Hours

St Peter on the Wall

St Peter at the Wall

Earlier than I set out, I take a handy guide a rough take a look at the chapel of St Peter at the Wall, some of the oldest intact church buildings in England, courting from the 7th century. It’s a good looking morning, the dew heavy at the sea wall, soaking my boots.  There are extra beached barges and, despite the fact that I’m strolling via some of the bleakest spots in the United Kingdom, all of the land is cultivated with small farms within the distance.  What’s positive, even though is that there are not any other folks and no dwellings.

After going through the open sea for a handful of miles, I achieve the Crouch estuary and switch upriver. All through WW2 this used to be concept a possible invasion path and the seawall is covered with pillboxes together with a large fortification simply somewhat inland. In the midst of the estuary is Foulness, the fourth-largest island in the United Kingdom.

It’s nonetheless used as a firing vary via the army and loud bangs disturb the silence. As I close to Burnham on Crouch, the yachts are out in power within the channel. It’s a pleasing position, so I prevent for an ice cream at the seafront.

Day 4 Burnham on Crouch to North Fambridge 10 miles 4 hours

After 3 days of strolling, I make a decision to take it simple and simply stroll upriver to the pub in North Fambridge. I depart Burnham’s Yacht Marina, nonetheless following the ocean wall, previous the tiny hamlet of Creeksea.  

There’s not anything a lot else till the ocean wall all at once disappears and I’m directed inland and begin to climb. Locals know this as ‘The Cliff’ and all at once the panorama opens up in entrance of me.

It’s just a minor undulation and I’m quickly again at the flat at the sea wall. I move the jetty at Althorne earlier than achieving the very good Ferry Boat Inn at North Fambridge. The ferry is lengthy long past however they’re nonetheless offering very good beer and meals.  It’s so excellent that I linger too lengthy and finally end up taking the teach again to Burnham.

Day 5 Burnham on Crouch to Rochford 8 miles 4 hours

Southend Beach

Southend Seaside

As of late, I’m sure for Southend and I get started via phoning the ferry, only a one-man small inflatable, to take me around the Crouch to Wallasea Island. Over 3 million heaps of earth from the Crossrail excavations had been dumped right here to create a flora and fauna habitat underneath the safety of the RSPB. Arable farmland has been transformed to saltmarsh, mudflats, lagoons and grazing marsh however I’ve no time to linger.

I head inland during the Paglesham hamlets of Churchend and Eastend, throughout large fields of grain, to finally end up as soon as once more at the seawall via my 3rd river. That is the Roach and I practice its banks to the crossing position at Rochford. I’m now at the outskirts of Southend and, quite than tramp via city streets, I take the bus to the centre. It’s then a nice stroll alongside the promenade, previous the well-known pier, to my B&B in Thorpe Bay.

Day 6 Leigh on Sea to Stanford Le Hope 17.5 miles 7 hours

Somewhat than trudge into the centre, I take the bus to Leigh on Sea. That is the beginning of the Thames Estuary trail which is able to take me all of the approach to Tilbury. It most commonly runs parallel to the railway line, with stations dotted during, so it’s simple to do day walks, simply tackling quick sections.

I practice Hadleigh Ray riverbank, with Hadleigh Fortress above me and Two Tree Island to my left, to South Benfleet after which inland to Pitsea.

From right here it’s all pass nation, previous Vange Marsh, then via Fobbing Marsh Nature Reserve. I am getting my first view of the Thames at Stanford Warren nature reserve, flooded gravel pits with reed beds stuffed with birds. From right here it’s a brief stroll to Stanford Le Hope.

Day 7 Stanford Le Hope to Purfleet 14 miles 6 hours

From Stanford, I practice the railway line earlier than coming into Thurrock Thameside Nature Park. As soon as a landfill web site, it’s been reclaimed via nature and incorporates an enormous lake, very good for chook staring at.  

At East Tilbury, I after all achieve the Thames, with the spectacular 19th century Coalhouse Citadel, guarding the river. In the beginning constructed to offer protection to London from the French, it used to be repurposed in WW2.

The seawall follows the curve of the river to the seventeenth century Tilbury Citadel now totally restored. Henry VIII constructed the primary defences right here and Queen Elizabeth famously rallied her military close by to stand the specter of the Armada. At the moment the Armada has been changed via huge cruise ships which dock close by, subsequent to the Gravesend ferry.

I press onwards to Grays, no longer probably the most inspiring position, however I’m quickly again on the Thames, preventing for fish and chips at a riverside pub.

Large oil tankers and container ships ply this stretch of the river and the ocean wall has been remodeled right into a gallery of graffiti. Passing beneath the Dartford Crossing Bridge, I arrive at Purfleet, my ultimate vacation spot, and get the teach house.

Factbox

Commute: Larger Anglia has direct trains from Liverpool Side road to Witham.

Data: Seek advice from Essex has details about the county.

The Saltmarsh Coast has details about the path.

Discover the Thames Estuary Trail has maps and an in depth information.

Keep: Luigi’s Al Fresco is a at ease position to stick in Maldon and has excellent Italian delicacies.

Othona Neighborhood, close to Bradwell, supplies a excellent welcome. 

Thatched Cottages in Burnham on Crouch are a few atmospheric, immaculate restored, ancient dwellings.

Ferry Boat Inn in North Fambridge has rooms and very good meals.

Suenos Guesthouse in Southend has sea perspectives and 5* lodging.


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