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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Monday, 26 April 2021

Thames Path from Crossness to Erith

 The National Trail 'The Thames Path'  goes from the Thames Barrier to its source, 180 miles away  at Kemble in Gloucestershire. The routemarker for that path is an acorn. I walked that trail back in 2013 and thoroughly enjoyed the walk. Since then the path has been extended beyond the Thames Barrier but it isn't that clear how far it actually goes so I have decided to follow the river as far as possible on its journey out to sea.  The routemarker for this path  is a stylised picture of an old Thames sailing barge. 

 Once again I have come by car and it took an age for me to find my way through a housing estate to park close to the river. Driving keeps me away from public transport and is usually a convenient way to travel. The big disadvantage is that I have to return along the same path to retrieve the car. If I am to continue walking alongside the path I think next time I need to find a way of using public transport and do a linear rather than circular walk.
Today's walk begins just beyond the old Crossness pumping station where my previous walk ended. In front of me I can see the modern sludge incinerator.
I saw a number of different birds having a good feed.

A cormorant drying its wings by the edge of the river.

Across the river on the North Bank was this large ship. I am not sure of its purpose but I know from my Underground challenge and walking in the Dagenham area that the large Ford factory is roughly sited along that part of the river.
Zooming in with the camera I could see the sign on one of the buildings. Although vehicle assembly ceased here in 2002 the site still produces engines so that might explain the large ship moored across the river.

Turning back to my side of the river I am walking past a large green area. In 1994 Thames Estuary grazing marsh was turned into this nature reserve. It did seem to have a hide there but I didn't want to wander off course so continued on my way. I read later that it is a special place for the rare and declining water vole, so maybe I should have taken the time to have a closer look.

It was an interesting walk along the riverbank. Here I could see the remains of an old pier alongside the reed beds.
By this part of the river, there is a real mixture of industry and wildlife. Just standing here I could here the sounds of numerous birds which I couldn't identify other than a number of sparrows flitting from one bush to another.

I passed many piers on this walk , some very much in use whilst others just left to rust and rot.

This mosaic on the wall beside the river was designed by local people to reflect the wildlife and beauty of the River Thames. It is one of a series along the Thames Pathway.

Looking back at the modern sludge incinerator I was impressed by its sleek design. Its graceful look is not something I would have expected from a building where the dried sewage sludge is burned to provide renewable energy.

There were a number of conveyers towering above the pathway ready to carry materials out to waiting barges or to bring waste products to the recycling units that have their centres here.

The Tesco delivery vans are all lined up. These have been incredible busy of late with everyone trying to get their food delivered to their home rather than going into the supermarkets. During all our months of lockdown I was unable to secure a delivery slot!

Large concrete silos and waste disposal industries lined this section of the path.

I can now see the Dartford crossing in the distance. This is the last bridge over the Thames. It is still quite a few miles away so I won't be getting much closer to it today.

You can't go far without seeing a discarded supermarket trolley.
There is a boat on the top of this pier. One assumes it can only be launched during a high tide.

Just looking back towards my starting point for today but I can no longer see the sludge incinerator chimney from here.
This last section takes me through the outskirts of Erith.

There is a yachting club the other side of Erith so on a beautiful sunny morning like today I am expecting to see a few more sailing boats.

Another of the Thames path mosaics beside the path that leads me up to Erith riverside gardens.

Across from the gardens is the 'Running Horses' pub which would make an excellent place to stop for lunch in post covid days.

I sat down for a little while admiring the boats as they sailed past but then it was time to go back along the path and hope I can remember where I parked the car. Next time I am definitely going to use public transport. 


  1. How strange they would extend and then use a different sign. A bit confusing.
    I only do one linear walk (the River Vecht walk) and am very conscious of when and where to stop so I can take a bus or a train to take me home again. The only other linear walk I did is where my Dad dropped me off and I walked back home.

    Isn't it amazing how that Dartford bridge looks quite tiny and it takes ages to reach. And then you're upon it and it is massive. I have crossed it once or twice and hated it each time. I had to keep my eyes averted from the river or I would have gotten very sick (remember: Dutch coaches have the steering on the left, so you would be sitting right next to the railing of the bridge, looking down upon the Thames).

  2. I was thinking about the Thames this morning and I thought, did Marie walk the length of the Thames? I think you did a few years ago.
    Modern sludge incinerator, lol. People need to take responsibility for their own sludge.
    Ford, Found on Rubbish Dump.
    It's quite an industrial area and the Tesco tale is interesting.
    While driving is tiresome and I try to avoid it, I have asked R to drive me to see a viaduct train bridge that is just too hard to get to by PT (I would have to walk a good way).
    Your outing sounds great.

  3. An interesting walk, for sure. I was wondering how long it might be, considering that it is an out-and-back excursion.

  4. Ah you walked a long ways and saw a lot of things.

  5. A fascinating post, and it took me back to my roots, as I am from Essex originally and lived there until I was nearly 30. My Grandad used to work in the Ford factory at Dagenham, so that was also nice to see. I love the Thames. So much history attached to it.

  6. I want to go and do that walk but I wouldn't drive. I am looking forward to using public transport again so I can walk further afield and not always circular routes.

  7. I do remember your walk along the Thames. It was the year before we did the Cotswolds and met you in London. Were there many other walkers on your pathway?

  8. Wow! that is quite the photo walk with you ~ thanks ~ XX

    Living moment to moment,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  9. At least the lockdown brings you something you discover corners you probably would never have visited in normal times. It's the same here, only the country is so small that I have seen most of it ! The new building I like too it doesn't look like a box, a bit special ! Unfortunately I lost all energy to walk or drive around, with all the worries I had in the last months I feel empty. Fortunately we have our Scrabble and Babble club !

  10. Sounds like a long walk but yes difficult when you have to loop back to your car. It was definitely hard getting Tesco slots earlier on in the pandemic but I didn't think it was still so hard now.

  11. We see those birds all the time here by the shore sunning themselves in the sun, we call them Pied Shags etc depending on their variety.

  12. A lot of diversity in the view from the Thames Path in this area. I wonder how many people walk it in this area. The sludge plant design is a pleasant surprise.

  13. Interesting walk. Maybe focus on the river going and the shore returning.

  14. That looks like a place where you could do some mudlarking - you never know what you may find!

    Hope all is well - Stewart M - Melbourne

  15. Going by car really is more difficult (but necessary in the time of Covid). Of course practically nobody over here sees how much more convenient public transportation is anyway. ... interesting river walk. I loved the urban birds...Not sure what a water vole is, but sounds like he should be a character in “Wind in the Willows. Cool that the sludge plant is an attractive building. Functional beauty!

  16. Those are some absolutely great photos. I hope you had a marvelous time, and thanks for sharing your adventure. Be safe, be healthy and most of all be happy!


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