London Loop

The rain in Rainham

The London Loop Part 8: Upminster Bridge to Purfleet

The last section of my Loop walk north of the River Thames so I will have finished half of my circumnavigation just in time for Lockdown 2.0 !

This was not the most attractive walk, the first few kilometres walking through the country park once the sight of the famous Battle of Britain Station RAF Hornchurch was of course interesting but then the forecast rain started and the landscape became more industrial.

Type 22 Pillbox, a reminder of RAF Hornchurch

South of the Hornchurch the route passes by the High Speed Rain line at Rainham Station, before entering Rainham Marshes.

Rainham Station

The walk south crossing under the A13 is bleak on a wet October day, I’m sure if might be more attractive in the summer but soon you reach the banks of the Thames and the remaining 6 kilometres follows the riverside path.

The walk into Purfleet offer quite a good view of the Queen Elizabeth II bridge and passes the rather stylish RSPB centre at Coldharbour.

RSPB Centre
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The London Loop Part 7: Chigwell to Upminster Bridge

The Only Way is Essex ? Well yesterday walking this section it was and it was another long one at 16 miles!

The first section climbing up from Chigwell into the havering forrest is the poorest maintained and signposted section so far.. this signpost early on was a classic… “Do you think we might have gone a bit far with the new fence Darren ?”

New fence ?

This is a very rural section also and in mid October that means ploughed fields and very muddy conditions either side of the section through Hainault Forest.

As I walking on a Sunday there was also a little dodging of Golf balls on the busy Hainault Forest Golf Club which the route crosses before climbing again into Having Country Park.

As you would expect in the parks along the route, the path is generally well maintained but crossing farmland and hedgerows a little care and attention is needed, this footbridge could do with some work!

The middle section of the walk is across downland farmland before dropping down into Harold Wood and once again entering the edge on London suburbs.

Pages Wood

The final section is relatively flat following the Ingrebourne valley and crossing the southern part of Pages Wood a new woodland recently planted, great to see so close to London !

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Is it Lea or Lee ?

The London Loop Part 6: Cockfosters to Chigwell

The longest section so far at just over 18 miles, with quite some contrast with arable agriculture replaced within a few minutes with industrial estates !

The first two thirds are really quite rural walking through woodlands around Trent Park and then climbing across agricultural land onto the Ridgeway. Trent Park is currently being redeveloped as residential apartments but has an interesting wartime history as an interrogation centre for captured Luftwaffe aircrew.

Trent Park

Descending from the Ridgeway the route follows along the banks of the Turkey Brook a tributary of the River Lea.

The section to Enfield lock is actually rather built up crossing Enfield High Street.

Passing Enfield Lock, the route briefly follows the course of the River Lea or is it Lee south along side the massive reservoirs of the Lee Valley Park. For centuries there has been argument as to the correct name, both seem to be used but there some logic – Natural features are Lea, whereas man made features such as the park or the navigation (canal) are Lee..

Lee or Lea Valley Reservoirs?

Climbing up the other side of the valley onto the Sewardstone Hills provides some fantastic views over the City of London and the loop actually enters the County of Essex for the first time.


The final section passes through the southern end of Epping forest into Chingford and across the M11 Motorway into Chigwell and its Tube station on the Central Line.