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
. 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
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
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.
for further information about the walk and click on the pdf tab for detailed walk instructions.t=swc.268