Walks, parks and nature spots in South Essex

It doesn’t take long until the train has whizzed you out of the big city and into the green fields and Thames river views of South Essex. If you want to get out into the great outdoors inhale fresh air and enjoy the kind of boost only nature can give then one of these scenic walks or nature spots along the c2c route could be just the ticket.

Enjoy a preview of life out in the South Essex countryside in this video. Wander around Two Tree Island nature reserve, take a picnic up to Hadleigh Castle (close to Leigh-on-Sea station), sit in local parks along the seafront and take in the views. Round it all off with a top notch high-tea at The Roslin beach hotel in Thorpe Bay.

Wat Tyler Country Park

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25 minutes walk from Pitsea station

Wat Tyler Country Park has been nominated by English Nature as a ‘Site of Specific Interest.’ Clearly marked nature trails take you past wildlife ponds, meadows and historic cottages. There’s also plenty of grassy trails for dog walks and doggy free children’s play areas. Follow their Facebook page for the latest news and events.

Tidal creeks and mudflats

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Start Benfleet and end Leigh-on-Sea

Don the waterproofs and wellies for an adventure along the tidal creeks and mudflats of the Thames estuary. There are rewards at the end for young and old alike: ice creams or fish and chips in the quaint cafes and pubs of Leigh-on-Sea.

Gunners Park

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Nearest station Shoeburyness

Tucked away in a peaceful part of Essex, Gunner’s park is something of a hidden gem in Shoeburyness, Southend. Its name comes from its former military use, but now it abounds in different natural habitats from coastal grasslands to ancient sand dunes and a lake with ducks and swans.

Rainham Marshes RSPB Reserve

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15 minute walk from Purfleet

Rainham Marshes RSPB reserve is paradise for bird spotters. But if you think it’s just about birds you’d be wrong! Stomp your way across miles of boardwalks and nature trails, or hire bikes to explore. Kids will go wild for the adventure playground, adults may prefer a cosy cuppa in the cafe.

Gloucester Park

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Nearest station Basildon

A short walk from Basildon station takes you to Gloucester Park, an urban neighbourhood park named after the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, who opened the park in 1957. The park plays host to many sporting activities and has an artificial lake and hills, which while man made are still picturesque and great for a stroll.

Thurrock Nature Park

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Nearest station Stanford-le-Hope

Watch birds swooping and soaring from the cunningly engineered viewing platform or make like explorers along the winding walking trails. There’s an excellent kids’ play area and that all-important café too. Best of all? It’s completely free. It’s a 2.5 mile walk from the station to the reserve, so bring buggies, scooters, or even bikes for the kids.

Hadleigh Farm’s Rare Breed centre

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Nearest station Benfleet or Leigh-on-Sea

Hadleigh Farm’s Rare Breed centre has lots of activities and talks on offer and is well worth a visit. Kids will love petting, feeding and learning about the animals. Take spare change for animal feed as you won’t be able to resist all the extremely cute family photo opportunities! The Rare Breed Centre is open from 25 March – 5 November.

The Upminster Circular

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Nearest station Upminster

The walk starts and ends at Upminster station and is a four and a half hour trek around the fringes of Upminster and Cranham. If you like songbirds and wildflowers you’ll see plenty in the nature reserve. Look out for dragonflies and wetland birds along the Ingrebourne bridge.

Discover scenic walks along the Thames Estuary

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Just 30 minutes from London, starting and ending at different c2c stations, there are five main walks of varying difficulty so there’s something for everyone. Use our guide, complete with maps, to choose what takes your fancy – from the lush South Essex Marshes to historic sites and leafy green landscapes. All canine friendly too.

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