Saturday Walkers Club

Benfleet Circular via Canvey Island Walk

Varied walk around a unique island in the Thames Estuary: mudflats, creeks, river traffic, sandy beaches, seawall murals, grassy marshland, oil terminals & refineries

Length 23.2 km (14.5 mi), of which 5.6 km (3.5 mi) on tarmac or concrete. Cumulative ascent/descent: 40m.
Toughness 3 out of 10
Maps OS Landranger Map: 178 (Thames Estuary) OS Explorer Map: 175 (Southend-on-Sea & Basildon)

A flat walk, that starts and finishes with a busy road stretch, features a fair amount of hard surface paths and some A-road noise near the end, and passes - in succession - a golf course, a static caravan park, an ex-landfill site, housing estates, another caravan park, a sewage plant, an LNG terminal, an oil product terminal, an oil refinery, the site of a never-finished oil refinery, another oil terminal and another - larger - landfill site?????? And yet, and yet...

This is one not just for the Industrial Romantic, or for fans of the Pub Rock legends Dr. Feelgood, or for students of the lives of the ex-East End White Working Classes.

Without navigational challenges (as all you do is: walk to the seawall and follow it) you experience an ever-changing scenery of tidal creeks and mud flats, river marshes, salt marshes, flood barriers, sluices and sandbanks, get views of the Benfleet Downs, of Hadleigh Castle & Country Park, the Essex cliffs, Southend with its Pier, the North Sea and the busy river traffic, of ships big and small, boatyards, yacht clubs and marinas, pass sandy beaches and enclosed pools on the foreshore, jetties, extensive seawall murals telling Canvey Island stories and - post lunch - long tranquil stretches past grassy marshes with abundant birdlife.

The recommended lunch options are the iconic Labworth Beach Bistro in its modernist building with panoramic views of the Thames estuary, or the legendary smugglers' inn the Lobster Smack.

A walk like no other? Most certainly.


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Out: (not a train station)

Back: (not a train station)

By Car

Start: SS7 1NF | Directions


Start walking Large print Using GPS data

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234



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Walk Directions  

Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from