The marshes of the Medway

Submitted by Timwoods on 05 October 2010
OS Explorer Map: 163 - Gravesend & Rochester
(12 votes)
A linear, full-day countryside walk in England starting at Cliffe, Kent, about 24.2km (roughly 15 miles) long and unsuitable for families with children, prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs.
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As the Thames flows out to sea, it passes a series of marshes and mudflats along the coasts of Essex and Kent. These lonely landscapes make for some wonderful walking. This route, on the Isle of Grain, explores Halstow Marsh and St Mary's Marsh, with views over the Thames Estuary to Canvey Island and Southend. Buses run to the start and finish points from Chatham.

Start: Cliffe, OS Grid: TQ736765
End: Rochester, OS Grid: TQ833774
Elevation Profile (x: waypoint number, y: metres)
Gain (+/- 10%): 72m (238ft)
Total (+/- 10%): 140m (460ft)
Loss (+/- 10%): 67m (222ft)
Max. Elevation: 30m (98ft)

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OS Grid: TQ736765
Start at Cliffe, on the Isle of Grain. From the church, head west along Buttway Lane. Cross West Street and follow the footpath alongside the lake.
About 1.5 km (roughly 0.9 miles) from 1 OS Grid: TQ722759
Keep heading past the lakes of Cliffe Pools - which are an RSPB bird reserve - through West Court Farm.
About 1.3 km (roughly 0.8 miles) from 2 OS Grid: TQ709758
Meet the Thames at Higham Creek. Just north from here is Cliffe Fort, a deserted building built to protect London from attack via the Thames Estuary.
About 1.3 km (roughly 0.8 miles) from 3 OS Grid: TQ709771
Follow the path around to Cliffe Creek. From here, the route now hugs the shore of the Isle of Grain, so you can concentrate on the views.
About 1.6 km (roughly 1 miles) from 4 OS Grid: TQ715787
The path continues around Cliffe Marshes. It's amazingly wild for a place so close to London and its 8 million inhabitants.
About 2.9 km (roughly 1.8 miles) from 5 OS Grid: TQ743792
The long northern stretch of the walk has some of the best views - south across the emptiness of the marshes, and north across the river to the towns of southern Essex and Coryton refinery.
About 3.1 km (roughly 1.9 miles) from 6 OS Grid: TQ774789
Egypt Bay, near Halstow Marshes, is supposed to be where Charles Dickens got the inspiration for his opening to 'Great Expectations' and the character Magwitch.
About 3.8 km (roughly 2.4 miles) from 7 OS Grid: TQ812785
Keep on heading east past St Mary Marshes.
About 4 km (roughly 2.5 miles) from 8 OS Grid: TQ852784
Allhallows-on-sea was built as a resort for Londoners by Southern Railways, and was planned to be the best in Europe. It didn't really take off, but there is still a caravan park here. Pass through and follow the River Yantlet inland as it cuts through the marshes.
About 1.1 km (roughly 0.7 miles) from 9 OS Grid: TQ858774
At a fork in the path, follow the right-hand path away from the river. Pass Binneys Farm and continue towards Allhallows.
About 2.5 km (roughly 1.5 miles) from 10 OS Grid: TQ833774
Return to Allhallows for the bus home. Pub of choice is the British Pilot, a lovely building in the town.
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