Leigh On Sea to Stanford Le Hope 07.10.12
Coming out of the station a bright green flag with the words “Freshly Ground Coffee” calls to me from the bustling boot sale but I am late starting so I walk on. Twenty minutes later, after sighting a beautiful German Gundog and the ruins of a castle on the hill to the right, I discover I have forgotten my camera – I will have to use the iphone.
Walking in the bright October sunshine up the side of Benfleet Creek I am slightly irritated by the drone of a model aeroplane being flown from Two Tree Island and the loud commentary from a mountain bike competition up on the hill. I soon have to leave the bank to follow the railway line on its northern edge, skirting fields full of horses and then stopping for a break in the peaceful graveyard of St. Margaret’s church. Following the railway line I am soon pitched into the noise and confusion of a very busy motoway junction, housing a monumental Tesco’s. Disorientated I wander around underneath the massive concrete structures of the A130 trying to find the path that will get me closer to Fobbing. Opposite Pitsea Station I walk through a builders yard and under the rumble of the road above, striding purposefully to ward off the furtive glances of a bunch of hooded youths standing in my path.
From there on I make my own way – the paths are not clearly marked and overgrown, so after a while I take to the road, stopping to look inside the pretty church at Vange.
Walking the verges for a few more miles, the oil refinery hazy in the distance, I finally arrive at Fobbing Church where I find a bench to air my aching feet.
Heading down the hill on the road to Stanford Le Hope I turn off onto a track through a very muddy field, my right foot sinks above the laces but my foot stays dry. Then on through Corringham, lanes bordering municipal playing fields, more farmers fields until I hit the road down to the station at Stanford Le Hope.