Day 67: English Coastal Path


Thursday 30th March 2022

Today miles: 16.1 Total miles: 1067.8

After checking the map last night Southend looks so, so close to Rochford, I’m guessing about 5 miles by road. My coastal route towards Southend-on-Sea is more than three times longer and l hope it turns out to be a whole lot more interesting. I grabbed another energy drink (and a chocolate bar) from the shop downstairs and I’ll enjoy them later today. The first mile was along the side of the road towards Butlers Farm. On the way, near Sutton Bridge Farm there’s an ECP direction sign pointing across the farmers field. A quick check of the OS map tells me that there’s absolutely no indication of a footpath/bridleway being in that location and the seawall at the end of the footpath is not marked as a public footpath either. I’m still carrying the mental scars from a few days ago when the footpath at Hullbridge was closed, so I chose to ignore the sign and stick to my original plan, continuing along the road to Butlers Farm. Shortly after Butlers Farm the tarmac road becomes a hard, stony land rover track all the way to Mucking Hall and half a mile beyond, where I did pick up the sea wall once again.

Somebody commented in a previous post a few days ago (Thanks JCombe) that I must be tired with the views of the salt marshes, that is confirmed yes, yes and yes. However, the three miles walking around BarIing Marsh I found really interesting, views seemed to change frequently, lots of birds playing and the miles went by pretty quickly. Occasionally I could also hear gunfire coming from near Potness and Foulness Islands. I walked by Halfway House Farm and for the first time I noticed the MOD firing range warning signs. I thought it might be difficult to avoid wandering into the firing range however it’s all well fenced and well signposted.
It was lunchtime when I entered the town of Great Wakering and I was pleasantly surprised by the choice of facilities on the high street. I grabbed myself a battered sausage and chips from the chippie and enjoyed them with my energy drink. I sat in the towns pretty, brick bus stop just watching the rest of the world go by. After Great Wakering there’s a series of bridleways and a minor road that get me back onto the coast near to Shoeburyness. The coastline for the next two miles towards Southend-on-Sea is out of bounds (still on edge of MOD land) and there’s a high concrete sea wall to make sure you stay out.

At Shoeburyness I decided to have another extended break as I can’t get into my Premier Inn room until 3pm. I was sitting bare foot on the promenade, chilling when a lady wearing a daypack approached me, she said I looked local and then asked me if it was possible to walk along the beach beyond shoeburyness. We got talking and it turns out that like me she’s walking the ECP in stages over several years, but unlike me she’s going anti-clockwise. All good so far. I was enjoying the conversation until I referred to my wife Gemma as my ’missus’. This lady then started to lecture me on my inappropriate use of the word ’missus’. Now, I’d only just met this lady and wasn’t prepared to be lectured regarding an endearing term that me and Gemma (the missus) are both happy with. I’m her ‘hubby’ by the way and proud of it. I quickly laced up my boots and abruptly said goodbye. Sorry that I digressed, I’ll get back to the walking.

There’s only the final mile to walk before a bath and a warm bed await me. Once in the room I took care of a few chores, including washing my dirty clothes before heading to the shop for some tea. I checked out the weather forecast for next week, it doesn’t look very good. That’s not a problem for now, I’m just looking forward to another good feed and a warm nights sleep.

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