The 150 mile London Outer Orbital Path “LOOP” begins on the south financial institution of the Thames in Erith, and goes all the way in which clockwise spherical to Purfleet on the north financial institution in 24 sections.
For those who really feel the necessity to train your legs, the London Loop is simple to entry by public transport and you are able to do it in sections. I’ve finished just a few of those over time however, on a sunny day in August, determine to deal with the ultimate stretch.
What I all the time discover shocking is that you just’re quickly out within the countryside, amongst cornfields, forests and lakes, and there’s little or no highway strolling.
Part 22 Harold Wooden to Upminster Bridge, four miles
I take the practice from Stratford by way of unique place names like Ilford and Romford earlier than arriving at Harold Wooden to begin my stroll. After just a few suburban streets I’m in Harold Wooden Park with groundsmen attending to the cricket pitch. I get my first glimpse of the River Ingrebourne, only a stream actually, which can be my fixed companion till it discharges into the Thames at Rainham.
I observe it into Pages Wooden on a large gravel monitor which I share with cyclists and households. Most are out strolling their canine or for a picnic and I’m the one hiker on the entire route. I emerge onto a principal highway and cross the busy London to Southend twin carriageway however am quickly again on the Ingrebourne once more.
It leads me into huge cornfields, with bramble bushes offering copious provides of blackberries for a morning snack. I circle the corn earlier than popping out onto the highway which leads me to Upminster Bridge. There are pubs right here nevertheless it’s too early to cease so I press on.
Part 23 Upminster Bridge to Rainham, four miles
After leaving the station I enter Hornchurch Stadium after which rejoin the Ingrebourne. Hornchurch Nation Park was as soon as an RAF airfield offering planes for the battle of Britain however all that continues to be are the odd capsule field and gun turret.
The wetlands by the river at the moment are residence to flocks of birds and Albyns Farm Lake, is stuffed with geese. I’m quickly on the outskirts of Rainham and revel in a pint on the Albion pub.
The village is talked about within the Domesday E-book and it’s pleasantly quaint with Rainham Corridor, a three-story brick townhouse inbuilt 1729 for a sea captain. It’s essentially the most distinguished of a number of 18th and 19th century buildings however there’s additionally an enormous Tesco. Eurostar trains rush by way of right here on their technique to France and I cross the excessive velocity by the station and enter Rainham Marshes.
Part 24, Rainham to Purfleet 5 miles
That is essentially the most attention-grabbing part of the stroll, though it begins reasonably bleakly within the overgrown reeds of the marshes. I can hear the roar of the site visitors from the A13 flyover and see massive industrial items coming out of the undergrowth. This was as soon as a navy train space scattered with firing ranges and some stone abutments stay. After the isolation of the marshes, it’s a shock to climb a financial institution and all of the sudden see the Thames, huge and uneven.
I observe it on an overgrown monitor preventing my manner by way of brambles and up forward are the large silos of Tilda rice. I skirt their jetty and are available throughout one other conflict graveyard, this time the decaying hulks of concrete barges. Apparently they have been used to ferry provides throughout D day however have been then towed right here and left to rot. Proper by the river is a big inexperienced mound, a huge landfill with vehicles scurrying to dump their waste.
Simply past is Coldharbour Level, marked with a small computerized navigation beacon put in in 1885. For 800 years you would catch a ferry throughout the river to Erith however sadly, that’s lengthy gone. What’s changed it’s the large QEII Bridge, the Dartford Crossing, seen within the close to distance, and an enormous freighter comes up alongside me on its technique to the ocean.
I’m nearing my closing vacation spot and move the RSPB customer centre for Rainham Marshes nature reserve, and enter a housing property. This was as soon as a gunpowder storage space and there’s nonetheless one surviving purple brick journal and a museum. I go away the river and arrive at Purfleet station, to catch a practice again into city. It’s been six hours of nice strolling and I’ve explored part of London I by no means knew existed.
Though the path in all fairness properly signed posted, it’s greatest to arrange and obtain the maps from the TFL Strolling London Loop