Leigh-On-Sea is a tow at the end of Thames Estuary Path. The path is 29 miles (47 km) long, which is a lot of walking if you intend to do it on a single day. But that’s not necessary to enjoy the estuary and its wildlife.
Sometimes all we need is a bit of seclusion. A goal difficult to achieve in a big city. As a crowd hater living in London, I’ve explored some of the quieter places in the immediate vicinity but there was always something missing there. It just wasn’t quiet enough for me.
Don’t get me wrong. Canada it ain’t. There are people everywhere. Paths are littered with dog turds and even the sky is polluted with noise made by Radio Control Airplanes. Some sound like mosquito farts, others seem to be of a more serious caliber. But this place has something other places don’t. Salt marches with deep ditches, cracks and river-like channels, deep sticky mud resembling quicksand, and above all – tides periodically cutting the marshes off the main land.
And this is great because very few people will risk getting dirty these days. You wouldn’t have thought that’d be enough to stop dog walkers and tourists from following you. It almost sounds too good. But that’s exactly what happened when we went to visit the marshes. Not a single person dared to challenge the treacherous bog. We just laid there like it was all ours 🙂
The day was beautiful and sunny. Not too cold, not too warm. It also happens to be the spring bird migration time so we could enjoy biggest flocks of curlew I’ve ever seen. A hundred, maybe two hundred birds. Plenty of redshanks, brant geese, pipits, skylarks etc. The place was actually full of surprises and ‘biggest things ever’. Like that massive 5 metre tall bramble twig we saw on our way from the island. Have I mentioned there was an island? Or the rabbit-seze rat feeding on leftovers from bird feeders.
Good times just an hour away from London.