Canvey Island Walk – 27.03.2011

Summer, well it definetly felt like it! Clocks had changed the night before, the sun was shining, so what better way to spend a sunny afternoon than by going to the Seaside.   This time we were to visit Canvey Island.    As the island was not particularly large, we did not really particularly plan any route and decided to take it in our stride.

Our first discovery, was the history of Canvey Village itself, where we started our walk.   In the early 17th Century the Island became home to around 200 Dutch immigrants, who reportedly “sought refuge from the Duke of Alba, the butcher of Flanders”. The Dutch water engineer, Cornelius Vermuyden, in 1623 agreed to maintain the sea walls when a local landowner agreed to give him a third of his land.  Notably Cornelius Vermuyden, went to work for Charles 1.

Although this was the highest point in the island, it did not seem noticeable as we set out on our way to find the sea.   The walk took us to Thorney Bay – please note that there is a caravan park located here and it is not a public right of way!    We were able to cut around the side of the park which had steps up to the seawall.    As Canvey is such a low lying Island, it is necessary to have such high level sea defences the only thing it does provide is a lovely coastal path beside it.

From 2011 – 27.03.2011 – Canvey Island Walk

We turned inland, so we could explore a little more of this small Island.   The route took us through a small little (main?) town of Canvey.     We did not spend much time in the town, although when we did find one particular cafe open we did stop for a refreshment and to think about how to continue our journey.  It was then we felt it was time to return to the Sea front.

When we walk roads we often notice street names.    Often they are are named after famous people of the area, local builders, or historic references to the area.   In this instance we came across “Station Road” I  have been told before that normally “Station Road” leads to a “Station” but I know in this instance it would not as there is no station on the Island!   I cannot see any references to Canvey Island ever having a railway?  Or was this relating to a Bus Station?  Eventually, we found “Seaview” road – this time aptly named as it lead us straight to the seafront!     We were then able to take the small coastal path.

From 2011 – 27.03.2011 – Canvey Island Walk

As we strolled along the coastal path, it was lovely to take in the fresh sea air.   Passing by small little beaches, the path eventually took us to Canvey Island Yachting Marina.  In fact this is the Island Yacht Club, which has been in existence since the mid-1930’s. Originally a growing number of pleasure boats and barges had been congregating in Oyster Creek during the early 1930’s and during 1935/1936 the club was first formed. Thames barges delivering building materials to the Canvey Supply Co. and Leigh Bawleys off-loading fish still regularly used the creek.

Although the Marina had some “public footpath” signs to follow – we decided that we would not follow them.. (perhaps some other day!)  So we returned on the coastal path we had just taken to see what else we could find!  The path seemed to lead us to what is known as “Canvey Seafront” .  We took the ramp which was provided over the sea wall  so we could walk on the nice beach.   It almost felt like a summers day (despite being only March!) – as I mentioned before –

From 2011 – 27.03.2011 – Canvey Island Walk

We strolled along, just enjoying the sea air, which felt bracing and fresh.  However, I so regret not bringing my bucket and spade 😦 .  Leaving the lovely front behind, we went over the steps again – we discovered the Canvey Bandstand and the few seaside amusements and the small funpark of the Island.  The Bandstand seemed a new addition – unless anyone can tell me otherwise?

We rejoined the coastal path to continue our walk.  I was most intrigued to discover a tiny building known as the “The Bay Museum” ‘.The following extract from The War Illustrated – April 5th 1940 is a little indication to the museums significance “During the past few weeks many British ships have been fitted with a special secret device that renders them immune from damage from magnetic mines.’” To ensure that this ‘special device’ was operating properly monitoring stations were established around the coast line. The Bay Museum was one of the stations, known locally as the ‘Canvey Loop’. The Bay Museum is a unique building in its own right, as it is the only surviving fully intact example of this type of MOD Property on the North side of the Thames Estuary

The coast path continued on and led us back around to Thorney Bay Caravan Park. Bypassing the park,    we retraced our steps via roads to Canvey Village. Just as we were leaving we discovered Canvey Heritage Centre, which somehow we completely missed when we started out on our walk, we did not visit on this occasion. The centre building definitely looked like it had been a church at some point. Although I have discovered a good website full of history of Canvey Island.

Our route continued to take us via the main road. We had another discovery – the Canvey Island Dutch Cottage museum, a tiny little thatched cottage dated 1618. As we walked on we had our final discovery of the day – Millennium Beacon Number 5 – see the following walks for the other 4 –  Purfleet Walk, Wemyss Bay Walk, Hainualt Country Park Walk and  Doniford Bay Walk.

From 2011 – 27.03.2011 – Canvey Island Walk

I didn’t even realise that Canvey Island had one!

As the sun was beginning to set, we made our final way back to Benfleet via the road bridge. It had been a lovely day at the seaside with lots of discoveries along the way!

All my photos for the walk are as follows –

2011 – 27.03.2011 – Canvey Island Walk

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4 responses to “Canvey Island Walk – 27.03.2011

  1. Pingback: Hastings Walk – 23.04.2011 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

  2. Pingback: Berwick Upon Tweed Walk – 17.05.2011 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

  3. Pingback: South West Coast Path – Berryhead Walk – 25.05.2012 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

  4. Pingback: Borehamwood – Edgwarebury Walk – 08.07.2012 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

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