This will be a short walk as I don’t have the whole day. It is raining in short heavy bursts as I follow the footpath that runs off Tinkers Lane on the way out of Rochford. Walking over a muddy field I get slightly lost, until a dog walker points me in the direction of Sutton Church and the incongruous sight of a single gauge railway snaking away into the distance.
I follow it for a while until it stops and I am left with signs indicating a public right of way, but which in reality is a stumble across huge clods of mud churned up by the inconsiderate farmer. The path becomes so unrecognisable at one point that I end up in someone’s back garden worrying about any dogs that might appear to protect their property. Eventually I find the path to Mucking Hall and across the fields to the dubious joys of Barling and Little Wakering – long stretches of featureless, colourless houses from the 50’s and 60’s. I am lucky to manage a lunchtime Guinness at the Castle Inn before getting the bus to Southend and back to London. As I step up into the empty bus the heavens open – I sit down with a smug smile on my face.