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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, 13 December 2015

Sunday Walk 2 – The Thames Path and a Nature Reserve

Extra Walk 172 – Rainham to Purfleet via RSPB reserve
Length: About 12.8 km (8 miles). Toughness: 1/10

10:19 Grays train from Fenchurch Street (Limehouse 10:23, West Ham 10:28, Barking 10:34), arriving Rainham at 10:42. There are several ways to connect with this train en route, eg. Jubilee or District line at West Ham.

Trains back from Purfleet to Fenchurch Street are at 06 & 36 minutes past the hour. Rainham is in TfL Zone 6 and Purfleet just outside it, but you can use Oyster at both stations.

After this prolonged spell of wet'n'windy weather I thought I'd offer one walk where much of the route is on surfaced paths. It's not really a country walk, more a riverside stroll along the “evocative and atmospheric” Thames Path on the capital's eastern fringe. In less than two hours you'll reach the RSPB's Rainham Marshes reserve where you can decide whether to spend the afternoon squinting at the birdlife from the 4 km circuit around the reserve (£5 entry for non-members) before heading for Purfleet station, about 1 km away. The RSPB café is open to non-visitors and you can have lunch and/or tea there as you wish; there's also a large pub (the Royal Hotel) on the way to the station.

You'll need to print the directions from the Extra Walk 172 page.

Optional Adventure: A few weeks ago one of our number toyed with the idea of posting a longer version of this walk past the “dramatic industrial scenery” promised on the Extra Walk 203 page (Rainham to Grays), but feedback from a knowledgeable local about the dire state of the Thames Path on this extension swiftly deterred him. At least one SWC walker has done this in the past and lived to tell the tale, so if you're one of the Sunday hardnuts (© Mr M Tiger) you might like to see for yourself. At your own risk!


PeteB said...

I managed to speak to Thurrock Council recently and they informed me that the vast amount of illegal fly-tipping adjacent to the Thames Path near Purfleet that made the national news back in January this year has now been largely cleared. However this is still a challenging part of the eastern sector of the Thames path and in my view the general environment has badly degraded since I started intermittently walking it in the mid 1990s. You will need a high tolerance of rubbish, graffiti "art" and industrial desolation to "enjoy" this 5 mile stretch. So, do it if you're hard enough!

PeteB said...

My comments re fly-tipping etc relate to the Purflet to Grays section of walk 203, not to any part of walk 172

PeteB said...

Just n=3 on this walk. The weather was in two halves: in the morning w= murky-cold-and-drizzly and in the afternoon w= brighter-and-mild. We reached the RSPB cafe about 12.15pm and it was already filling up. We had tasty basic snack meals: baked potatoes with fillings and lots of excellent salad and soup and bread and cake. None of us wanted to do a circuit of the reserve but an RSPB volunteer allowed me to look through his expensive telescope and pointed out some black tailed godwits and a large flock of lapwings.
We all agreed not to do the short distance back to Purfleet but retraced our steps to Rainham where towards the end we took a different path back to Rainham so we could experience just a little light mud for the proper SWC winter walk experience. We upped the pace for the last 1km to catch a homeward bound train at 2.40pm as it arrived in the station. A gentle and pleasant winter outing by the atmospheric Thames