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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Sunday, 26 June 2016

Sunday Special: Leigh Folk Festival

Benfleet to Leigh-on-Sea / Benfleet Circular  
Short walk 3.5 miles Difficulty: 1 out of 10
Longer Circular 15.3km (9.6 mile) 4 out of 10

We have paid a visit to Leigh Folk Festival for several years now and the short walk was devised to lead you directly there (though many now veer off to visit the castle ruins on the way). In Leigh, there'll be free stages along the waterfront as well as artists in other venues. If you’re mainly interested in the festival, choose the short walk.
For those wanting a proper walk, there is an exciting development this year - a new Benfleet Circular via Benfleet Down. Do the whole thing or use the first half for a more energetic (5.6 ml) approach to the festival. 

The directions for the short walk are here. Most of it is through Hadleigh Castle Country Park and this map of the park might come in handy. En route, a left turn will take you to the castle, a good place for a picnic. (There are food outlets in Leigh but things can get busy). Note the railway station on your way into Leigh – that’s where you will be leaving from. 

The directions for the circular walk are here. You share the same picnic spot as the short walk (Hadleigh Castle). Although the directions suggest Leigh-on-Sea for lunch, remember that Leigh’s pubs and eateries will be very busy today. The route takes you near Hadleigh Farm's Rare Breeds Centre. It should be open today 10:30 to 17:00, admission £3.50. This is the first outing for this longer walk - a walk-check, in fact. The author would appreciate any feedback.

Trains. Get a return to Leigh-on-Sea (not to be confused with Lee in London, or Leigh in Kent). (This costs no more than a return to Benfleet).
The fastest service leaves from Liverpool Street this Sunday, twice an hour. (Earlier trains still leave from Fenchurch Street, as do the slower stopping services.)
The 10:23 Shoeburyness train from Liverpool Street is suggested for both walks. (Stratford 10:30, Barking 10:39, arriving Benfleet at 11:09)
Returning from Leigh on Sea, the faster trains to Liverpool St are at xx:56, xx:26 with slower ones to Fenchurch Street at xx:43, and xx:13. If we have any night owls, the last train is at 22:56 arriving Fenchurch St at 23:49.
Trains leave Benfleet at xx:01, xx:31 to Liverpool St  and xx:17, xx:47 to Fenchurch St..

T=short.14

8 comments:

PeteB said...

Thanks for this Ian. As the author of this new walk I'll be taking the opportunity to check and amend the detailed instructions. Any help and comments gratefully received.

Marc Ricketts said...

Now I might do the walk on Sunday. But I can't Guarantee I will. But I am just wondering what is so special about this walk?

Mr M Tiger said...

The castle and the estuary have their charms but what's special is the visit to to the Folk Festival.

PeteB said...

I'll leave Ian to report on numbers but I eventually reached Benfleet via a slow train from Fenchurch Street. I was hoping to catch the designated train at Stratford but no information was displayed on the departure boards and the staff knew nothing and just directed you to West Ham to pick up trains from Fenchurch Street. A hurried journey from Stratford to West Ham ensued.

On the long circular walk I picked up a slower walker and later three faster ones who all had no problems with the draft instructions which is good news. On the climb up to Hadleigh Castle we were intercepted by a herd of cattle led by a huge Bull who were heading for a trough for a drink. A bit disconcerting but all was ok. We all lunched at Hadleigh Castle with its expansive estuary views over Canvey Island and beyond before ambling on to Leigh. Here we split up and I lingered only to take a look at a couple of bands and enjoy an ice cream before ambling back along the estuary path to Benfleet. I stopped off at the Barge Gladys for a big mug of builders tea-most refreshing- before a fast train back to Stratford. Hope all enjoyed their day out. I'll be redrafting bits of the walk over the next couple of weeks before adding it to our library.

Ian T said...

The designated train DID stop at Stratford at the appointed time but, apparently, the platform was not announced until the last minute and staff were misdirecting people to West Ham. About 16 people were spotted in Leigh. I think about n=11 of those walked there. 5 did the long walk, the rest doing the short-walk-with-castle. And one walked from Shoeburyness. On our walk we encountered someone walking the other way shackled to a ball and chain! (not included in numbers) The long walk met with approval…”varied, undulating” One suggestion was to reverse the direction of the long walk so all could walk together in the morning. (This wouldn’t quite work with the castle visit included)weather was w=sunny-with-some-cloud Highlights included Trembling Bells, Crying Lions, Wild Willy Barrett. By the time we left, several oysters had died and some of us were the worse for drink. Well, I was anyway.

PeteB said...

Thanks for the favourable comments re the long walk. as Ian points out it would not really work in reverse as the visit to the ruined castle is a highlight. Also it is meant to be a "stand alone" walk that can be done at any time of the year with possible visits to the rare breeds centre. In May there should be lovely displays of wild flowers and given dry weather - sections can get very muddy - this could be the best time of year to do it.

Liz N said...

Thanks Pete - comments as promised:
2 more of us who did the outward leg of the round walk went on to complete it after a beer in Leigh. Lovely contrast to the morning. Nothing further to report in the same league as our bull or bloke with ball and chain dragging things behind them..

Point 6. There didn't seem as much as 20m between getting clear sight of the metal field gate and turning R on to the open field track; then once we'd turned R off the track we met a footpath that had evidently followed the RH field edge from the corner. Might be clearer, as well as more direct and less boggy, to follow the field edge all the way?

Point 12. We felt the clearest and most interesting landmark here on L was the Iron Age round house.

Point 13. Might be helpful to clarify the turn off the road, eg: 'at the signs and info boards turn left to go through a gap..' We wavered at the word continue.

Point 30. When on the pavement the busy main road is on your L not your R.

PeteB said...

Thanks for this Liz, will incorporate your suggestions into the final version which will be added to our walks library in the next couple of weeks.