Day 327: Hullbridge to Paglesham
Distance: 23.82 miles
Ascent: 972 feet
Weather: Rainy Morning, Overcast but Dry Afternoon
Accommodation: Camping Plough And Sail Pub Field, Paglesham (Kindly Offered)
The forecast for today was not great with rain forecast, and as I packed away the tent it was raining lightly but nothing too bad. I was off early as I had a long day and would also be meeting a friend in about 11 miles just shy of Wallasea Island about 11:15.
From Hullbridge there did used to be a path following the river directly but due to embankment breaches (I believe deliberate ones) the old path is no more and I couldn’t find any evidence of a new path so had to head inland a mile or so and then follow the road for 2 miles. Thankfully the rain had stopped by now and didn’t return for the rest of the day. I turned of the road and town a farm track which took me to South Fambridge.
From here I was able to get back onto the embankment along the river and follow it for the next 6 miles to the crossing point (just a road) to Wallasea Island. I had arrived a little early and would be being joined by my friend Hannah shortly who was joining the walk today, tonight and tomorrow. Hannah pulled up in her car and Wallasea Island was just perfect as it was a 9/10 mile loop from where we could return to the car.
Just after heading onto Wallasea Island I could see back across the river to the lovely house I had stayed in in Creeksea 2 nights ago. We headed down the embankment about 2.5 miles to an industrial looking structure. In fact this turned out to be an aggregate conveyor belt which had been used to carry the spoil from Crossrail onto the island to make embankments and a new wetland centre on Wallasea.
Just after this I was in for a bit of a shock, where there were fields and a path on my map there was now just mudflats and water, the shape of Wallasea had been significantly altered for the new bird reserve. So we carried on following the new embankment to the new tip of the island. This was a nice walk and it was clear the new reserve had only just started to be completed, with a couple of new signs and a shelter just having been completed. In fact the little shelter was perfect as it allowed us to have a short break out of the wind without getting too cold. On the south side of the island there were no paths shown on my maps, but as expected we were able to follow the embankment around and the only pinch point was the very end where strangely there was a triple fence this end (having passed no other closed gates or fences the whole way round) but as per normal it was clear to see where others had crossed a little ditch and back onto the road where we left the island.
Back at the car, Hannah drove on to the end point of the day where she would put the tent up and I had to carry on along the embankment back on the main land for 3 to 4 miles till I reached Paglesham East. The walk was easy enough and I was going to arrive just before it got properly dark which was good going given it was a 24 mile day, with a guest on the walk.
In Paglesham East the Plough and Sail Pub had very kindly offered to let both of us pitch on the field outside. Hannah had already got the tent up, which was quite large and could probably fit 5 people but would have plenty of space to fit us two and all our bags and paraphernalia. This wouldn’t be camping like I am used to as Hannah had bought proper inflatable mattresses, a couple of duvets and SIX pillows.
Anyway with the tent now fully furnished we headed into the pub,which is a lovely old pub and was very busy. They kindly gave me a free meal, and afterwards when we were both very well fed, had charged things up and Hannah had even got a hot water bottle filled we headed back to the tent.
It literally felt like a proper bedroom in the tent, and we even managed to watch the England vs Australia highlights in the tent before heading to sleep fairly early.
A good day, alright weather, nice scenery, good company, great pub and palatial tent.