Walking the London Loop into Essex (part 1)
Section 24, Rainham to Purfleet, Essex
(Photos/words © urban75, Sunday 2nd January, 2011)
Over twenty of us managed to drag ourselves out of London to walk the last section of the London Loop, a short and flat walk around 5 miles, taking in - it has to be said - some rather bleak landscapes.
The meet up point was Fenchurch Street railway station. It's the only London main line terminus not connected to the London Underground network, so we walked from nearby Bank station (Tower Hill is close too).
First opened in 1841, the station retains its attractive 1854 facade, although the four elevated platforms prove to be rather charmless modern affairs, with all natural light blocked out by the office blocks built above the running lines.
Our train took us as far as Barking, Essex, where we had to do a swift platform change to pick up the Rainham line.
It has to be said that the scenery from Barking to Rainham is a never-ending, concrete gray, grim procession of industrial buildings, abandoned warehouses and electric pylons.
Here's the less-than-encouraging view from the station platform.
There's no shops or housing around Rainham station, just a broken phone.
Crossing the lines to pick up the London Loop.
A row of birds line an industrial structure.
Some sort of sculpture on a traffic island.
A companion sculpture on the opposite side of the flyover.
Frozen river and bulrushes.
Coldharbour Lane, Rainham. No relation to Brixton!
Curiously graphic warning sign.
The walk took us part an extensive landfill site, and there was enough of a lingering whiff in the air to suggest that this is a walk best done in the winter.
The walk joins up with the Thames, flanked by the aromatic heaps of the landfill site.
Abandoned ferro-concrete barges used during the D-Day Landings of the Second World War.
Part of the waste transfer station
Partially submerged barge. On the other side of the Thames lies Erith, the starting point for Section 1 of the London Loop. Unfortunately, the old cross river ferry has long since stopped working.
'The Diver:Regeneration' sculpture by John Kaufman (see: official site)..
Described as the only sculpture standing in the River Thames, The Diver is made of galvanised steel bands on a steel frame and stands 15 feet (4.6m) tall and approximately 6 feet (1.8m) wide.
We're not so sure about its claim to be the only sculpture in the Thames, seeing as Anthony Gormley's Quantum Cloud Sculpture stands outside the Millennium Dome.
The sculpture is partly-submerged every high tide and totally submerged by spring and neap tides.
Sadly, Kaufman fell ill and died soon after the sculpture's competition in 2002, with a wake being held at the location of the sculpture with family and friends.
« Walks home Rainham to Purfleet walk [part two] »