Purfleet – Rainham Walk – 25.07.2010

Purfleet – the name conjured up images of 18th Century Ships, docks and perhaps a song or two by Gilbert & Sullivan!  But Purfleet was nothing at all like that!  In fact I have since discovered that Purfleet area was described as the following in 1836 as  a picturesque place, with its lighthouse on Beacon Hill and dramatic chalk quarries .  When we came out of the station to embark on our excursion however, it was not too picturesque nor did it conjure up 18th Century Maritime images either 😦 The first thing that did strike me when we started out were some beautiful little cottages called the “Botany Cottages” in fact there were quite a few references to “Botany” everywhere.  I thought that perhaps ships from the wharf (which I noted later) embarked to Botany Bay in Australia from here and the sailors lived here!  How exotic!  But I was wrong!  In fact it was reminder to a a mid-Victorian attraction known as the  ‘Botany Garden’ – which was in the disused chalkpit! The walk continued down a lane – we decided against taking the “public footpath” which was signposted, probably a good thing as we discovered a little unusual sign when we approached St Stephen Church.  Purfleet House originally stood here – Or as it was known in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” novel “Carfax House” at Purfleet on the Bye Road to London!

From 2010 – 25.07.2010 – Purfleet – Rainham Walk

After this little discovery, we saw the signposts to Rainham Marshes!  Hooray!  This was our third attempt at finding the Marshes (see my previous blog rainham walk where we got lost looking for it first time round!!)  The little path took us out onto the side of the Thames and although it was cloudy it was still a lovely view and it was still quite humid. I was also quite surprised to discover a Millennium Beacon!  This is my third one! Firstly in Hainualt and then Largs I think I should start to collect them!  The path then continues past Purfleet Magazine (no not the type you read!) a Gunpowder Magazine – fully restored – we didn’t investigate – but it was open to look around – and if you like Military history (particularly Georgian / Victorian times), looked interesting if you ever pass this way! The path then finally met up with Rainham Marshes!  Not before passing through the most oddest of Artistic Structures celebrating a 1,000 years in Purfleet.  The Marshes themselves very well maintained – in fact the RSPB look after the land – and as we stopped for a break it was obvious that there was plenty of birdlife! We continued on and used the old seawall for the path which gave us a lovely view of the Thames Estuary

From 2010 – 25.07.2010 – Purfleet – Rainham Walk

It was interesting to note that although the seawalls we now walked were from the 70’s the seawall we could see in the distance was created by the Victorians and if we had spent enough time there perhaps we could have seen the flood defences of Medieval times!    As the walk progressed we seemed to be sweltering in the heat (despite it being cloudy) and I thought I was having illusions – particularly when I saw the numbers 1-8 sticking out of the ground (perhaps some sort of firing range?) I am yet to still research this! The path that we were taking was the Rainham to Purfleet Path – to my surprise I could not see a “London Loop” sign which I was fully expecting to see!  The route reached a crossroads either to take the path around the Riverside or along the Marshland – which we did.  The path joins a road at this point – it goes straight past a Landfill site!  We Continued along the road, only to think perhaps the path just ran out – and it just ended at the road?  In fact, we had to cross the road to another part of the marsh to continue the walk – it was just a nice!

From 2010 – 25.07.2010 – Purfleet – Rainham Walk

Although we could see a huge road (the A13 to be precise) in front of us) Wildlife obviously thrived in this environment.  Hidden in this lovely little river, Swans had raised a little family of Signets!  We didn’t really want to disturb them, so we carried on with the walk.  The biggest problem with this part of the path was it was locked when we tried to get out!  So we had to improvise this bit! In fact this walk must have been quite new as we had come out at the roadway and the traffic lights still had covers on them!   We rejoined the path the other side of the A13.  Luckily this was not locked up!  This took us right up to Rainham Station!

All the walk photos are –

2010 – 25.07.2010 – Purfleet – Rainham Walk

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6 responses to “Purfleet – Rainham Walk – 25.07.2010

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