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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. Buy your ticket online in advance and get from London to Southend for £12. Plus kids go for £2 at weekends and during school holidays. Check out our app and Smartcard for the quickest way to buy your tickets in advance and avoid ticket office queues.

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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

wat tyler country park

25 minutes walk from Pitsea station

Wat Tyler Country Park has been designated by Natural England 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

Tidal creeks and mudflats in essex

Start in Benfleet and end in 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

gunners park swans

Nearest c2c 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

rainham marshes fox cub

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

gloucester park basildon

Nearest c2c 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

thurrock nature park

Nearest c2c 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

hadleigh farm rare breeds centre

Nearest c2c 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 the 9th of April.

The Upminster Circular

Upminster circular walk

Nearest c2c 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

thames estuary walks - hadleigh castle

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.

Thames Estuary walks

Woodland walks in Essex

Looking for woodland walks close to London? We’ve got a great selection of beautiful woods for you to explore.

Hadleigh Great Wood

hadleigh great woods

Nearest c2c station: 20 mins walk from Leigh-on-Sea (45 minute train journey from London Fenchurch Street)

This Southend-on-Sea Borough Council wood is great for family walks. There are good facilities on site (for those all important pit-stops) as well as a golf course, riding stables and restaurant if you want more from your day out. Plus the paths are decent for exploring the woods easily.

Explore Hadleigh Great Wood

Langdon Reserve

langdon reserve

Nearest c2c station: 20 mins walk from Laindon (35 minutes by train from London Fenchurch Street)

Even though these woods are close to Basildon town, once you’re in them you feel like you’re miles away from town or city life. Keep your eyes peeled as there’s lots of wildlife to spot. The paths are great for gentle walks or for cycling. They even have the remains of old plotland developments to see.

Explore Langdon Reserve

Westley Heights

westley heights

Nearest c2c station: 20 minutes walk from Laindon station (35 minutes by train from London Fenchurch Street)

These Thurrock council woods are part of Langdon Hills Country Park. There are ancient woodlands that date back to prehistoric times with pretty, flower-rich grassland meadows. Lots of trees means lots of birds – making it paradise for spotting little winged friends. Horse riding, cycling and walking are all allowed on the well maintained network of footpaths.

Explore Westley Heights

Thames Chase Forest Centre

thames chase

Nearest c2c station: 25 minute walk from Upminster (25 minutes by train from London Fenchurch Street)

A great one for kids to explore, there’s logs aplenty to clamber over as well as Trusty Oak play equipment. Take them to the pond to spot wildlife, admire the apple and pear orchards, hide out in the tipi and run off all that excess energy. And best of all there’s a cafe for a well earned cuppa at the end.

Explore Thames Chase Forest Centre

Shipwrights Wood

shipwrights wood

Nearest c2c station: 30 minutes walk from Benfleet (around 42 minutes by train from London Fenchurch Street)

Hop off the train at Benfleet and the stunning scenery begins immediately. Take a scenic walk through Hadleigh Park to get to Shipwrights Wood. Ancient woodland, orchards and fields make up the terrain and a special woodland walk has been marked to make it easy to explore.

Explore Shipwrights Wood

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