I think it is many years since London group had a full day's walk "Way Out East"
So Matthew will lead us today starting from Benfleet Station and finishing in Thorpe Bay. This is mostly along the Thames Estuary Path
Their are several places along the route where you could drop out and get a train back.
From Benfleet we walk into and through Hadleigh Castle Country Park, used during the 2012 Olympics for Bike Trailing, we pass the Salvation Army's working farm created in late 1880's and the rare breeds centre then stop for maybe 30 mins to look over the said castle which dates from 1230ish. NO entrance charge. This first section is a bit hilly but gives fine views over the Estuary. We then descend to Hadleigh Marsh and join the Thames Estuary path with the various sands and flats to our South. At Leigh on Sea we will stop for lunch and the famous Cockle Sheds should be open where you can buy seafood. We join the beachside promanade at Westcliffe on Sea, passing the Southend on Sea pier which was built in 1889 and is a little over 2km long. We may have time to walk along it or take the special train (admission price). Continuing along the promanade to it's end at Shoeburyness, then a short bit through quiet streets to Thorpe Bay station where trains run twice an hour back to London Fenchurch Street.
Total walk is about 20km or 13 miles and almost totally flat. You can finish early at Southend station after about 13km or 8 1/2 miles. Depending on weather and the tides we may be able to swim off the beach at Southend or more likely Shoeburyness near the finish. So if you are interested in that bring your Speedo's !! and a towel.
This is an ideal Summer walk along a beach side promande. At Thorpe Bay there is a good inexpensive diner/pub and a couple of cafes before train home.