Shoeburyness Boom to Benfleet Station
Walk 27: Sat 24th July 2021
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Distance: 17 miles
Straight along the coast, on the prom at Southend and past the seafood stalls at Leigh. Thames-side marshes take us to Benfleet where we then loop around Hadleigh Park.
To all Walkers
There are two official meeting locations per day; at the start and near the mid-point. If you only wish to walk your one-mile stretch and join the walking party as it comes through your section, you can specify to meet ‘at my mile’ on the booking form (which should have been emailed to you already).
If you are meeting ‘at my mile’, please understand it is difficult for us to specify the exact time the main walking party will arrive. To help you estimate this, use the scheduled times below and add 30 mins per mile to get to your mile. We are using a walking speed of 2 miles an hour as a guide.
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Please be on time.
- Start point 9AM: (Miles 389 – 396) East Beach park, Shoeburyness, Southend-on-Sea SS3 9AD (0.3 miles from start of walk)
- Mid point 1PM: (Miles 397 – 405) The Boat Yard, 8-13 High St, Leigh-on-Sea, Southend-on-Sea, Leigh-on-Sea SS9 2EN
- End point 5-5:30PM: The Anchor Inn, 1 Essex Way, South Benfleet, Benfleet SS7 1LS
Route: Walk 27
Finding the Gems
Images and words submitted for these miles are being added to the story map. Here are some of the treasures sent in so far!
Shoeburyness to Benfleet Miles
A Seaside Mile
It's been the first warm sunny day of February in this strange year of 2021 it felt fantastic although still slightly chilly, to feel the warmth of the spring sun on our faces. My mile stretches from Benfleet Station to Hadleigh Castle, we began by passing Benfleet Station and the bridge over to Canvey Island, a route I often take for work.
Our walk truly begins at the Benfleet boatyard where the route takes a turn off road and the boatyard lays alongside the Hadleigh Ray. There is I noticed a stark contrast between the industrial boat sheds, boating paraphernalia and the pretty houseboats which pepper the pontoons along the waterside.
I was drawn to a piece of aging wood that sat nestling in among the waterside foliage and estuary mud, it was weathered and aged yet the life lines of the once tree were visible and complete. The sight of the wood took my mind to thinking of drift wood and the journey it makes as it travels and is washed up from one side of the estuary to another, while being shaped and moulded by the sea.
To maybe be stumbled upon by children who for a while will turn it into a sword or a ships mast, or to be used to prop up a sand castle or water filled sandy hole, until the next time to be discarded to continue to take its estuary journey.
by Fleur Elliott
I am visiting Thorpe Bay Esplanade, slightly over a mile from Southend Pier. This area is a destination for traditional beach activities and water sports, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing, all away from the attractions, noise and lights of the golden mile.
Lining the beach are an eclectic mix of coloured wooden beach huts, each individually named and decorated. The huts here stand proud of the sand, shingle and shells, on stilts, so even at high tide, they are still accessible. I look for one that was in our family and became our summer holiday destination.
The smell of salty sea air reminds of childhood times here, sunshine filled days, simple fun combing the beach, collecting shells and sea glass, whilst waiting in anticipation for the incoming tide. Sometimes a walk out on the squelchy mud in jelly shoes, to meet the incoming water, shallow and warm.
Timber groynes control the movement of beach material, but with each rising tide, the sea reaches further up the beach, many beach huts are suffering with erosion not only from the salty air, leaving layers of peeling paint, corroding and rusting bolts but the effects of the continual motion of the waves on their structures, gradually being eaten away by the relentless abrasion of the waves, many have ingenious reinforcements! In recent storms, high winds and unheard of sea levels, several huts have been completely destroyed.
As humans continue to pour greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we are causing a change in our in the earth temperature, ice melts, and every year, the sea rises 3.2 mm. This will have a dramatic effect on this area and possible loss of these unique structures, even housing beyond. In years to come will there be a beach, let alone beach huts.
By Sally Chinea