I have set myself the target of walking a minimum of 3 days in England and 3 days in Scotland each month, which would hopefully see me complete my challenge later this year. As I had already walked 5 days in January, I just needed to get a single walking in, so I decided on a day’s visit to Essex. Doing a single days walk driving from Shropshire can be quite hard on the body with 7 – 8 hours of driving coupled with a 5 – 7 hours walk. The good news is I am finally nearing my completion of the Essex coastline, which has been frustrating in terms of linear progress down the coastline.
Today’s walk would involve a large amount of sea wall walking and some small sections of road walking. Because of the bus schedules I decided to reverse my usual direction of travel by driving to and parking in Canewdon. From there I caught the 08:01 #60 bus into Southend-on-Sea and then catching the 09:07 #14 bus to Barling. I had a bit of a scare when I arrived at the bus stop where I would catch the #14 bus, in that I could not see the service number on the timetable. I knew it was the correct stop because I had checked it on Google Streetmap and Traveline. Anyway I caught the bus ok and was glad to get out of the wind which was a freezing cold.
I got off the bus in Barling Magna and headed towards the Church, with its small spire sitting atop the main square tower. I joined the sea wall at Barlingham Creek, which fed into another channel called The Violet which in turn fed into the River Roach which I would be walking around today.
The thing to understand about the coastline of Essex, is yes, it has a number rivers, some of which confluence into larger estuaries and contribute to the 350+ miles plus of Essex coastline, but what adds to the difficulty of walking around these rivers are the numerous creeks, channels, inlets, pools, streams and smaller rivers that feed into the River Colne, Stour, Blackwater, Crouch and Roach and must be walked around!
I was fortunate to have the stiff breeze with me at the start of the walk, but as I reached the River Roach at Barling Ness I now headed into the freezing breeze. I was essentially walking around Barling Marsh, which appears to be a large landfill site. I headed westwards along the sea wall before turning inland near Mucking Hall, as the public footpath on the sea wall ceased. I plotted a route along public footpaths, crossing over a miniature small gauge railway track that seemed to have fallen into disrepair and then along the odd short section of road. This worked well and I soon arrived at the outskirts of Rochford.
At Rochford I had to negotiate getting around a large boatyard, a large disused industrial site, a household recycling facility as well as crossing over The River Roach. I was surprised how easy this was, especially as the maps were not so clear. However, I managed to get over the Roach and continue along the opposite bank and start making my way eastwards and with the breeze now at my back. I had been following The Roach Valley Way, but at Bartonhall Creek, which required a 1.5 mile detour inland, the Roach Valley Way disappeared inland. I continued along the sea wall, which was a bit rough in places.
To the north I could see Canewdon, where my car was parked, it was quite tempting to head straight for it, but I had planned to continue walking around The Roach. I carried on along the river and soon arrived at the Jetty, with a few river boats/home moored alongside close to the village of Paglesham Eastend. After a kilometre I left the left the Roach and headed along Paglesham Creek. At this time I was rather fed up with walking along the sea wall, so I headed across footpaths towards the village of Paglesham, with its delightful church and clap-boarded cottages. I joined up with the Roach Valley Way for a short distance then made a direct line across filed paths and a quite road back into Canewdon.
Distance today = 19 miles
Total distance = 5,747 miles