This walk is all about big skies, muddy estuaries and more cockles than you can shake a stick at.
It’s an ideal walk if you’re up late and don’t want anything too strenuous, and with two brilliant pubs at either end (one in an old barge) it’s a great for when you want a ‘walk’ (aka. sit down in a pub without feeling too guilty about it…).
On a sunny summers day, you can’t do better than getting a big bowl of local seafood for lunch in the Crooked Billet at Leigh-on-Sea, then going for a gentle stroll to Barge Gladys in Benfleet to watch the sunset.
In winter it’s best to do the route in reverse (old Gladys can get drafty in the cold!) and go for a roast at the Crooked Billet after exploring the mud flats and maybe buying some fish for your dinner.
There’s a free folk festival every year in June too.
Station Fenchurch Street
Time of walk 44 mins
Time on train 45 mins
Time end to end 1 hr 30 mins
Places to stop
Barge Gladys is a bar on an old tugboat that’s moored in sleepy Benfleet Marina. The deck is an amazing place to sit and watch the sunset in summer, and they’ll make you a cheese toastie with a side of crisps if you’re feeling peckish. What more do you want in life really?!
Take a detour from the estuary route and visit 11th century Hadleigh Castle, with mortar made of local cockle shells.
The Crooked Billet
A great little pub with a beer garden overlooking the estuary, log fire and local fishmongers on the doorstep. Get a pint form the bar in the Crooked Billet and a plate of cockles from Osbourne Brothers.
Stop in at Leigh’s Fishmongers before you go home to get some super fresh fish for your tea
Leigh-on-sea has a sandy area at the end of the high street that can almost pass for a proper beach. It’s sandy and there is water to paddle in so grab yourself an ice cream and stick a hanky on yer head.