D70: CANVEY ISLAND to TILBURY
Saturday 14th May 2022
Today miles: 18.5 Total miles: 1108.0
It’s been just over 6 weeks since I walked the circuit around Canvey Island and then left Benfleet earlier then I had wanted and returned home. So, here I am once again. Having jumped on board the train at Alnmouth I arrived at Benfleet via London Kings Cross and London Liverpool Street. I’m excited about six more days of walking and hoping to arrive in Sittingbourne next Thursday. That’s about 120 English coast path miles.
I arrived in Benfleet in the early afternoon and it’s already pretty hot. Immediately the views where stunning and I noticed a fingerpost informing me I’m also walking along the Thames Estuary Path. My peace was quickly but temporarily ruined by the sound of several motorbikes roaring past. I didn’t realise there’s a motocross track on the coast at Benfleet. They were literally blasting past me only a few metres away. Minutes later the peace returned and I continued on my way, first passing once again under the A130 and then walking alongside the railway tracks towards Pitsea.
I left the Thames Estuary Path and instead moved onto the public footpaths around Vang Marshes, very easy walking along dirts tracks and plenty of dog walkers to keep me company. By the time I reached the town of Fobbing I was ready for a break, so I enjoyed a nice cold lager at ‘The White Lion’ before carrying on. I’m aware today is FA Cup Final day and if I’m near a pub at 4.45pm then I’ll pop in to watch it. It’s Liverpool -v- Chelsea and I’m not bothered who wins. As I approached Mucking Marsh I saw an impressive, contemporary building on the edge of Mucking Creek. It’s a relatively new visitors centre for those in the area. Unfortunately for me, no hot drink. I’ve missed out by just ten minutes. I found somewhere to rest in the shade and took a long break having already covered about 13 miles today and not intending to go much further.
On the way towards Coalhouse Fort there’s a section of the footpath which has been closed due to a fault with the path. I walked around the sign and sneered at the alleged fault. Further on there’s a minor bit of erosion on one side of the path, a 10 metres section and easy to avoid any ’Danger’. Also noted there was no suggestion of any alternative route for those walking the ECP. It’s now teatime but still busy around Coalhouse Fort. The fort is one of several on the North and South banks of the Thames Estuary, built to protect the Capital from seabourne attacks. Coalhouse was built in the 1860/70’s and decommissioned in 1949 it’s currently part of a public park and maintained for heritage and historical purposes. I think these buildings should definitely be restored, there an important part of Britains long history. I didn’t linger at Coalhouse Fort but carried on beyond, to Coalhouse Point where the dry dirt path changed to hard concrete.
I was now looking for somewhere to pitch my tent, fully aware that thunderstorms and heavy rain is expected tonight. After walking adjacent to the concrete sea wall for about a mile towards West Tilbury power station I eventually walked under a wide metal jetty and there’s a dry flat section. It’s already gone 8pm and I don’t expect to find any better options. This is my bed for tonight. During the night around 11pm as I was dropping off I heard two people running past the tent, this and the noise from the ships moving down the Thames really freaked me out and I slept poorly. I walked two miles further then planned but that should make life easier later in the week. A good day.