The City of London from Benfleet

Benfleet Circular via Leigh on Sea walk

24-Sep-18 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk268

Benfleet Circular via Leigh on Sea walk

Hadleigh Castle, Leigh on Sean, and Benfleet Creek


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Fri, 07-Dec-18

Date # Post
Mon, 24-Sep-18 6

Monday Night Special Harvest Moon Walk to Leigh-on-Sea

Distance: 5.6 miles or 8.9 km for those more metrically minded T=SWC.268

Difficulty: 2 out of 10

Train: 17:31 Shoeburyness train from London Fenchurch St. Station, arriving Benfleet at 18:12 – buy a day return to Leigh-on-Sea

Return: Trains back from Leigh-on-Sea are at: 20:33; 21:03; 21:33; 22:03; 22:12; 22:42 and 23:03

Another “transitional shoulder-season” evening stroll, but rather than a sunset, this evening the hope is to watch a Harvest Moon rise near where the Thames meets the sea on the way to Leigh-on-Sea…You may wonder why the walk is on Monday when the full moon is on Tuesday --- the reason being that the full moon is technically during the wee hours of Tuesday morning, meaning that it will rise almost 20 minutes earlier on Monday than Tuesday… better for an evening walk. It should take about 2 hours to walk to Leigh-on-Sea – so time to have a meal in one if its many pubs before heading back to London. More information about the route can be found here.

Ps: You may want to bring a head torch…but, hopefully, the moon will provide enough light on a straight forward route largely across open terrain…
5 hardy souls managed to disengage themselves from the commuter masses disembarking at Benfleet from an extraordinarily overcrowded train to be met with 1 more waiting on the platform for a total of 6 for this evening outing under clear skies followed by bright moonlight. Some were surprised as we almost immediately launched up a steep hill (yes, in Essex) and towards the top of the hill crossing a field we were rewarded with a great view of Canary Wharf, the Shard and the City of London silhouetted against the red sky of the setting sun. Onward we went through some woods to finally emerge at the top of the hill with the large yellow globe of the rising moon ahead (really breath taking). The route then took as back down the hill and along the valley where we also admired Mars, Jupiter and Saturn before re ascending to the ruins of Hadleigh Castle atmospherically illuminated in the moonlight. The moon provided ample light on the final descent to Leigh on Sea some complaining that it was almost too bright to see....We had a pleasant meal at the Crooked Billet before catching the 22:12 back to London.
Sun, 23-Apr-17 14

Sunday Walk - Adventures along the Essex Coast

SWC Walk 268 Benfleet circular via Leigh on Sea
Length 15.2km (9.8m); toughness 4/10.
You can add 2 miles to the length of the walk by doing a circuit of Two Tree island for a spot of birdwatching. For a shorter walk you can end in Leigh on Sea (8.9km , 5.6m)
Note: London Fenchurch Street is just 100m from Tower Hill tube station.

London Fenchurch Street 09.55 arrives Benfleet at 10.39. You can pick up this train at West Ham ( District and Jubilee Line) at 10.04 or Barking (London Overground, District Line) at 10.10.
Trains back from Benfleet to London Fenchurch Street at 01 and 31 past the hour.
If you decide to end the walk in Leigh on Sea you will need to buy a day return ticket for that station.
In the past this walk has been posted to coincide with the Leigh on Sea folk festival at the end of June but with dry weather forecast it makes a fine Spring outing with hopefully some wild flowers and butterflies to be seen. It is a walk of contrasts. In the morning you go along narrow, grassy paths through the dense, hilly woodland of Benfleet Downs and Hadleigh Country Park. You visit the ruined Hadleigh Castle which is an excellent picnic spot and has superb views; on a clear day you can see all the way across Canvey Island to the Hoo Peninsula and the North Downs in Kent.
After lunch in Leigh on Sea you walk back to Benfleet along a wide track adjacent to Benfleet Creek with fine views of the flat open estuary waterscape and the hilly woods away to your right which you walked in the morning. You can also incorporate a circular walk of Two Tree island which has fine bird-watching opportunities.
The undulating hills of Hadleigh Country Park were the venue for the mountain bike events in the 2012 London Olympics and there are a large network of bike trails of varying severity criss-crossing the area. This walk however uses “walkers only” paths and routes with just short and unavoidable stretches on bike trails.
Lunch and tea
You have lunch at Leigh on Sea; a town rapidly gentrifying with boutiques and up-market restaurants. There are many pub lunch options in its High Street – see pdf for details. Near Benfleet there is the Barge Gladys a quirky spot for refreshments before heading to the station.
See here for further information about the walk and click on the pdf tab for detailed walk instructions.t=swc.268
Now I might do the Walk on Sunday. But I can't Guarantee I will.
14 off the train at Benfleet with a number of people visting the area for the first time and who were pleasantly surprised by the woodland hillside trails and superb views of Canvey Island and beyond to Kent. We reached the ruined Hadleigh Castle a little too early for a picnic lunch so we all pressed on to Leigh on Sea. Here the group split up taking lunch in any of half a dozen available inns and restaurants with some lingering to explore the town and two walking on to Southend.
Three of us set off on the estuary path back to Benfleet enjoying the views of the estuary mud flats with a very low tide. We stopped to have tea at the Barge Gladys before catching the 16.01 train.
I hope all the others enjoyed their day out there wqere rumours that one or two people were going to do the circuit of two tree island. the weather was splendid throughout dry with some sunny periods but a cool breeze. Its a pity it was not warmer because there were lots of spring flowers including bluebells and even one or two butterflies.
At least 9 others stopped for drinks in Leigh On Sea before heading off around Two Tree Island, where we stopped in the hides for a little while to watch Oyster Catchers and other birds. From there, we strolled on to Benfleet, stopping for a drink at Barge Gladys before getting the later train. Thanks, PeteB for a nice day out.