Day 69: English Coastal Path


Friday 1st April 2022

Today miles: 13.9 Total miles: 1089.5

I drove to Benfleet and parked up adjacent to the flood barrier, a lack of other options meant that I took the risk of parking on double yellow lines, I’ll just pray there’s no traffic wardens working around Benfleet today. After crossing the causeway onto the Island I turned left onto an excellent path which runs alongside the Castle Point golf club for just over a mile. On reaching Sunken Marsh I walked by a huge housing estate and then an equally large caravan park.

On the Eastern side of the Island there’s Canvey Heights Country Park and then Smallings Creek to negotiate before I reached the wall. I’d read several walk reports and most were critical about the 8ft high wall that protects the Eastern side of Canvey Island from erosion. You can walk on either side of the wall and during the next 2 miles I switched sides many times. Large sections of the wall are also decorated with murals and despite what I had previously read I enjoyed this section. At Thorney Bay I spotted a small cafe close to the wall and ordered myself a full cooked breakfast and a mug of coffee. After ordering another coffee to take away I then continued around the wall. The wall ends at Thorney Bay and the next mile and a half is on the edge of an oil storage depot and heavy works. It didn’t spoil the walking. As I looked North I could see dark clouds were gathering and expecting rain I put on my waterproof trousers and jacket. Minutes later the heavens opened up.

There’s absolutely nowhere to hide but I’m well waterproofed, so I just kept on going. At the end of the works the walking once again continues along a grassy sea embankment, I could also see the huge jetty’s jutting out into the River Thames. At the Northwick flood barrier I encountered a herd of stubborn cows, with calves. They refused to move off the path, forcing me to briefly divert. I passed through a gate a few minutes later and safe from possible bovine interference I took another short break. For the last two miles I’m in the West Canvey Marsh nature reserve. After passing under the A130 I walk adjacent to the road back towards Benfleet.

I’m genuinely disappointed to be heading home earlier then was expected. My feet are feeling a lot better then they did a few days ago and it’s only the prospect of the bitterly cold nights which is sending me home.
In summary Tollesbury to Canvey Island in 8 days. 119.7 miles, that’s around 15 miles per day. Hope to be back soon, when the weathers a little warmer.


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