Day 65: English Coastal Path

D65: NORTH FAMBRIDGE to CANEWDON

Monday 28th March 2022

Total miles: 26.7 Today miles: 1040.1

First up I want to talk about the aftermath of pitching a tent on a slope. The gradient appeared to be very mild when I set up camp last night, however during the night on several occasions I was woken up having rolled down the slope and found myself resting against the side of a wet tent. Now both the tent and the sleeping bag are wet. Having now had three poor nights sleep I’m desperate to find somewhere warm tonight to shower and rest my head. It’s another cold, misty morning as I set off towards North Fambridge. After working my way through the boat yard at North Fambridge I set off across a series of small public footpaths and bridleways until I arrived on the B1012 which took me towards North Woodham Ferrers. By happy chance I bumped into a local council worker collecting rubbish from the roadside and he was able to advise me about several places nearby where I can to grab a hot drink. Ten minutes later and I’m sat in the cafe in Sainsbury’s enjoying a sandwich and a coffee.

For the first time on this trip it began to rain, I’m so pleased that I’m sat indoors. I ended up sitting in the Sainsbury’s store for more than two hours, recharging my batteries, my phones batteries and more importantly staying completely dry. When I finally started walking through North Woodham Ferrers, crossing the River Crouch and several small creeks it wasn’t a simple task and I really had to focus long and hard on the map. I walked though a field of various sized Christmas trees and at Battlebridge I encountered a colourful facade on a vintage toy store named Nerd Base, which looked out of place amongst all the rural greenery.

On reaching Beaches Farm I momentarily considered sticking to the minor road all the way to Canewdon. It’s less then a mile from the riverside and I toyed back and forth about whether I considered it cheating or not. I ultimately decided to stick to the river, a decision I’d later regret. I cruised the first couple of miles through Hullbridge without incident but on reaching Crouch Park I noticed a warning sign at the side of the path, ’Footpath Closed Ahead’ I continued for a further hundred metres or so before I encountered an 8ft wire fence, several workmen and a gap in the path. There’s absolutely no recommendation for an alternative route, except to backtrack for another two miles which I’m not prepared to do. Instead I risked the wrath of the residents of the Crouch Caravan Park by jumping over a fence and swiftly running between the caravans to get to the road on the other side.

I continued along this ’private’ road’ and managed to climb back onto the riverside path thinking this was the end of my problems, yeah right. I walked a mile further along the route but then came across a breach in the seawall and no way of going ahead. There are several rotting wooden posts in the water which suggests that there would have been a bridge here many years ago. This second obstacle again forcing me to retrace my steps, cursing to myself as I went along.

My only option now is to find the road to Canewdon and walk the remaining 6 miles along the tarmac. There’s a handy bridleway, part of the Saffron Trail which gets me from Crouch Caravan Park onto the Canewdon road. I needed to find a campsite and the only one nearby is the Riverside Village Holiday Park. I called them and managed to secure a booking. I then carefully manoeuvred my way along the minor road to Canewdon. By the time I arrive in Canewdon my feet are aching and I’m exhausted from having to maintain concentration along the busy road. I grabbed a chocolate bar and energy drink from the local store and took an extended break.

After checking the map I decided to leave the minor road. It’s about 2-3 miles to the Holiday Park and I choose to head back to the coastal path via Upper Raypitts Farm. I eventually arrive at the Holiday Park as it’s getting dark and I quickly used the laundry room to dry out my wet tent. Later whilst setting up camp I was a little bit cheeky when I asked the neighbouring caravan occupants if they had a spare blanket. They were happy to help and the sleeping bag they provided was extremely thick and warm. I didn’t catch their names but I’d like to thank them very much for their help.

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