Sunday, April 11, 2021
Benfleet Downs & Hadleigh Marsh Walk
"Off message" but another lovely post lockdown walk with Gill, 53 minutes by car from Forest Gate. This time in Essex, starting off at at the ruined but still very impressive, 13th Century Castle at Hadleigh, which has great views overlooking Canvey Island, the Thames Estuary and the Kentish North Downs.
We walked along the Benfleet creek embankment and enjoyed the clouds and sunshine of "Big Skies" Essex. It was cold and windy in exposed parts but warm out of the wind and when in the sunshine.
We also walked up and then down to the Olympic (2012) Mountain Bike park which is currently closed for essential maintenance. I must get a decent mountain bike and visit when it reopens.
"On message" is that we started at the former "Labour colony" next to Hadleigh Castle which was set up by the founder of the Salvation Army, General Booth. Check out here further information these http://www.workhouses.org.uk/labourcolonies/. This is not something that I would support nowadays but at least in the 19th century, someone was trying to do something about poverty and unemployment. It is now a tea room, rare breeds farm and Salvation Army centre. Closed now but hopefully opened from tomorrow.