CIMG9953

CIMG9953

Rainham Marshes

22-Feb-14 • Sean O'Neill

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CIMG9943

CIMG9943

The Concrete Barges

22-Feb-14 • Sean O'Neill

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CIMG9945

CIMG9945

Good waymarking

22-Feb-14 • Sean O'Neill

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CIMG9947

CIMG9947

The Diver and Arklow Rambler

22-Feb-14 • Sean O'Neill

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CIMG9949

CIMG9949

Coldharbour beacon

22-Feb-14 • Sean O'Neill

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CIMG9950

CIMG9950

Arklow Rambler heads for the sea

22-Feb-14 • Sean O'Neill

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CIMG9952

CIMG9952

Rainham Marshes

22-Feb-14 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk172, swcwalks

Rainham to Purfleet via RSPB Rainham Marshes walk

An easy birdwatching walk in Outer East London along an atmospheric section of the Thames Path via the RSPB reserve at Rainham marshes.

History

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.

Date # Post
Sun, 11-Dec-16 1

Sunday Walk 2 – A Nature Reserve on the Thames Path

Extra Walk 172 – Rainham to Purfleet via RSPB reserve
Length: About 12.8 km (8 miles). Toughness: 1/10

10:19 Grays train from Fenchurch Street (Limehouse 10:23, West Ham 10:28, Barking 10:34), arriving Rainham at 10:42. There are several ways to connect with this train en route, eg. Jubilee or District line at West Ham.

Trains back from Purfleet to Fenchurch Street are at 06 & 36 minutes past the hour. Rainham is in TfL Zone 6 and Purfleet just outside it, but you can use Oyster at both stations.

This isn't really a country walk, more a stroll on surfaced paths along the “evocative and atmospheric” (translator's note: bleak) Thames Path on the capital's eastern fringe. In less than two hours you'll reach the RSPB's Rainham Marshes reserve, where the café is open to non-visitors for lunch and/or tea. There's a good view across the nature reserve from the visitor centre but RSPB members will probably want to spend the afternoon exploring it (£5 entry for non-members) before heading for Purfleet station. However, you could devise a route back to Rainham or even continue along the Thames Path to Grays, though I understand that this extension isn't particularly rewarding.

You'll need to print the directions from the Extra Walk 172 page. T=swc.172
1. Just me on this walk, on a day bright enough to give slight sunburn. The designated train wasn't running, so it was necessary to take one bound for somewhere else as far as Barking, then a bus. Possibly others did something similar before or after me, but I never saw them if they did.

The RSPB cafe was much as these things always are, save that it was rather cramped due to the erection of a Christmas Fair in the restaurant, with most of the tables in course of diversion to the display of craft wares of that rather earnest kind most likely to test recipients' skills in feigning gratitude when they appear as Christmas presents in two weeks time.

The Royal Hotel 500m beyond the RSPB is so beaten up that it looked abandoned from the river. The impression was reinforced in the car park on other side of the building, where the first car had a completely flat tyre and had obviously travelled nowhere in some time. The grass was unmown and the plants in the window boxes look like plants in any window boxes I have ever owned, ie dead. The sign announcing the name and owner had been removed from high up on the wall, leaving its outline on the paint. The place was in fact open, but looked so frayed that I didn't dare venture beyond the lobby. I suggest it is removed in the walk notes until someone braver than me determines that it is as a viable lunch stop.

The notes have this walk just right. It's not a country walk, but it's a distinctive corner of the country that I'm glad to have had the opportunity to see.
I planned to do the walk as well today, but started at the previous stage of the LOOP (Upminster Bridge), adding 4 miles to the walk. I got to Rainham station and saw that no trains were running, so decided to return to Barking and southeast London. I've walked the LOOP four times, so know the Rainham to Purfleet stretch very well. I recommend doing the extra four miles from Upminster Bridge tube station if this walk is done again. It's mud free, so can be done any time of year.
Sun, 13-Dec-15 3

Sunday Walk 2 – The Thames Path and a Nature Reserve

Extra Walk 172 – Rainham to Purfleet via RSPB reserve
Length: About 12.8 km (8 miles). Toughness: 1/10

10:19 Grays train from Fenchurch Street (Limehouse 10:23, West Ham 10:28, Barking 10:34), arriving Rainham at 10:42. There are several ways to connect with this train en route, eg. Jubilee or District line at West Ham.

Trains back from Purfleet to Fenchurch Street are at 06 & 36 minutes past the hour. Rainham is in TfL Zone 6 and Purfleet just outside it, but you can use Oyster at both stations.

After this prolonged spell of wet'n'windy weather I thought I'd offer one walk where much of the route is on surfaced paths. It's not really a country walk, more a riverside stroll along the “evocative and atmospheric” Thames Path on the capital's eastern fringe. In less than two hours you'll reach the RSPB's Rainham Marshes reserve where you can decide whether to spend the afternoon squinting at the birdlife from the 4 km circuit around the reserve (£5 entry for non-members) before heading for Purfleet station, about 1 km away. The RSPB café is open to non-visitors and you can have lunch and/or tea there as you wish; there's also a large pub (the Royal Hotel) on the way to the station.

You'll need to print the directions from the Extra Walk 172 page.

Optional Adventure: A few weeks ago one of our number toyed with the idea of posting a longer version of this walk past the “dramatic industrial scenery” promised on the Extra Walk 203 page (Rainham to Grays), but feedback from a knowledgeable local about the dire state of the Thames Path on this extension swiftly deterred him. At least one SWC walker has done this in the past and lived to tell the tale, so if you're one of the Sunday hardnuts (© Mr M Tiger) you might like to see for yourself. At your own risk! T=swc.172
I managed to speak to Thurrock Council recently and they informed me that the vast amount of illegal fly tipping adjacent to the Thames Path near Purfleet that made the national news back in January this year has now been largely cleared. However this is still a challenging part of the eastern sector of the Thames path and in my view the general environment has badly degraded since I started intermittently walking it in the mid 1990s. You will need a high tolerance of rubbish, graffiti "art" and industrial desolation to "enjoy" this 5 mile stretch. So, do it if you're hard enough!
My comments re fly tipping etc relate to the Purflet to Grays section of walk 203, not to any part of walk 172
Just 3 on this walk. The weather was in two halves: in the morning w= murky cold and drizzly and in the afternoon w= brighter and mild. We reached the RSPB cafe about 12.15pm and it was already filling up. We had tasty basic snack meals: baked potatoes with fillings and lots of excellent salad and soup and bread and cake. None of us wanted to do a circuit of the reserve but an RSPB volunteer allowed me to look through his expensive telescope and pointed out some black tailed godwits and a large flock of lapwings.
We all agreed not to do the short distance back to Purfleet but retraced our steps to Rainham where towards the end we took a different path back to Rainham so we could experience just a little light mud for the proper SWC winter walk experience. We upped the pace for the last 1km to catch a homeward bound train at 2.40pm as it arrived in the station. A gentle and pleasant winter outing by the atmospheric Thames
Sat, 22-Feb-14 16 Rainham to Purfleet, including RSPB Rainham Marshes
Sun, 03-Mar-13 7 Rainham to Purfleet, including RSPB Rainham Marshes