Essex Coastline, a ruined castle with a view, and 2 Tree Island
|Finish||Leigh on Sea station|
|Time||1 hour 30 minutes.|
|Travel||Trains leave from Fenchurch Street Station. The back entrance to the station is not far from Tower Hill underground - follow the signs. There are 4 trains an hour. Get a return to Leigh-on-Sea (not to be confused with the other Lees and Leighs dotted around the south-east).|
This short walk along the Essex shoreline was devised to coincide with Leigh Folk Festival, normally held at the end of June.
The Festival lasts several days culminating in a full Sunday of free events. It is very much a community affair with local Essex acts as well as some bigger names. And there is a pretty wide interpretation of the word “folk” - reggae, C&W, cajun, and blues bands rub shoulders with more traditional performers. You'll find free stages along the waterfront as well as artists in pubs and other venues. Be sure to buy merchandise or put coins in a tin to add your support. Most of the action happens along the waterfront but there is at least one pub and a hall on the other side of the tracks that are worth visiting
If the weather is fine, a picnic at Hadleigh Castle is recommended. There are several pubs and other eateries along Leigh’s waterfront
Or, you could climb up the hill to the rest of the town.
C2C, who runs trains on the London Fenchurch Street - Benfleet - Leigh-on-Sea - Southend-on-Sea - Shoeburyness line, have serveral obfuscated discounts.
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone. OpenStreetMap (not OS) mapping is used in the PDF for licence reasons.
- Leave Benfleet station on the Ferry Road/Canvey Island side - not the town side. This exits onto a main road, where you turn left.
- The main road soon turns right, over a bridge to Canvey Island, but you continue straight on along a minor road following Benfleet Creek. This ends in a car park, where there's a gate on the left into Hadleigh Castle Country Park.
- The easiest route is then to turn right and continue to follow the coast all the way to Leighon-Sea, which is about 3.5 miles away.
- Further along the way you have options
- Option: To visit the castle:
- The grounds around the ruins are a good place for a picnic, with views down to the estuary and beyond
- The straight creekside path eventually comes to a dogleg, turning first left then right. But instead of going right with the main path, pick out a fainter path going north to a gate then a rail crossing. The crossing is about 200m left of a brick structure. After crossing, head on up the field to a gate in the top right hand corner. Follow a cycle path eastward. Ignore one or two "Wild Walk" gates on the left but, as you near the castle, a gate off slightly to the left leads onto a broad path heading left, uphill along the western side of the castle. At the top, enter the grounds via a gate on your right
- Exit the castle at the other side between turrets and follow the path down. It rejoins the cycle path which heads east to Leigh. Here you need to aim for the waterfront. Turn right just after the station and go through a gate on your left, down steps to a road and follow this past waterside shacks and sheds into Leigh .
- Option: To Visit 2 Tree Island
- Continue along the creek side path. A little later, you can turn right to explore Two Tree Island nature reserve.
- The main walk, and 2 Tree Island option continue
- Carry on along the creek side path into Leigh. Note the railway station on your way into Leigh – that’s where you will be leaving from.