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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

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, 23 April 2017

Sunday Walk - Adventures along the Essex Coast

SWC Walk 268 Benfleet circular via Leigh on Sea

Length 15.2km (9.8m); toughness 4/10.

You can add 2 miles to the length of the walk by doing a circuit of Two Tree island for a spot of birdwatching.  For a shorter walk you can end  in Leigh on Sea (8.9km , 5.6m)

Trains
Note: London Fenchurch Street is just 100m from Tower Hill tube station. 

London Fenchurch Street  09.55 arrives Benfleet at 10.39.  You can pick up this train at West Ham ( District and Jubilee Line) at  10.04 or Barking (London Overground, District Line) at 10.10. 

Trains back from Benfleet to London Fenchurch Street at  01 and 31 past the hour.

If you decide to end the walk in Leigh on Sea you will need to buy a day return ticket for that station.

In the past  this walk has been posted to coincide with the Leigh on Sea folk festival at the end of June but with dry weather forecast  it makes a fine Spring outing with hopefully some wild flowers and butterflies to be seen. It is a walk of contrasts. In the morning you go along narrow, grassy paths through the dense, hilly woodland of Benfleet Downs and Hadleigh Country Park. You visit the ruined Hadleigh Castle which is an excellent picnic spot and has superb views; on a clear day you can see all the way across Canvey Island to the Hoo Peninsula and the North Downs in Kent.

After lunch in Leigh on Sea you walk back to Benfleet  along a wide track adjacent to Benfleet Creek with fine views of the flat open estuary waterscape and the hilly woods away to your right which you walked in the morning. You can also incorporate a circular walk of Two Tree island which has fine bird-watching opportunities.

The undulating hills of Hadleigh Country Park were the venue for the mountain bike events in the 2012 London Olympics and there are a large network of bike trails of varying severity criss-crossing the area. This walk however uses “walkers only” paths and routes with just short and unavoidable stretches on bike trails.

 Lunch and tea
You have lunch at Leigh on Sea; a town rapidly gentrifying with boutiques and up-market restaurants. There are many pub lunch options in its High Street – see pdf for details. Near Benfleet there is the Barge Gladys a quirky spot for refreshments before heading to the station.

See here for further information about the walk and click on the pdf tab for detailed walk instructions.t=swc.268

3 comments:

Marc Ricketts said...

Now I might do the Walk on Sunday. But I can't Guarantee I will.

PeteB said...

n=14 off the train at Benfleet with a number of people visting the area for the first time and who were pleasantly surprised by the woodland hillside trails and superb views of Canvey Island and beyond to Kent. We reached the ruined Hadleigh Castle a little too early for a picnic lunch so we all pressed on to Leigh on Sea. Here the group split up taking lunch in any of half a dozen available inns and restaurants with some lingering to explore the town and two walking on to Southend.
Three of us set off on the estuary path back to Benfleet enjoying the views of the estuary mud-flats with a very low tide. We stopped to have tea at the Barge Gladys before catching the 16.01 train.
I hope all the others enjoyed their day out - there wqere rumours that one or two people were going to do the circuit of two tree island. the weather was splendid throughout w=dry-with-some-sunny-periods-but-a-cool-breeze. Its a pity it was not warmer because there were lots of spring flowers including bluebells and even one or two butterflies.

Anonymous said...

At least 9 others stopped for drinks in Leigh-On-Sea before heading off around Two Tree Island, where we stopped in the hides for a little while to watch Oyster Catchers and other birds. From there, we strolled on to Benfleet, stopping for a drink at Barge Gladys before getting the later train. Thanks, PeteB for a nice day out.