Dave Sergeant

The London Loop is a walking route of 150 miles length around the outer boundaries of London split into 24 sections. I am currently walking the loop and this is a blog of a few sections. See tfl.gov.uk/modes/walking/loop-walk for more details.

London Loop Section 24 Rainham to Purfleet - October 23rd 2019

Section 23

Yesterday me and Mike did section 24 of the London Loop, the final section of my 150 miles since February. Nice day though a bit misty, good journey there and back, a very enjoyable 5 mile walk from Rainham to Purfleet.

Most of the walk was along the north bank of the Thames but first there was a short stretch through the industrial part of Rainham. Straight after leaving the station we crossed the HS1 line which we would meet at various other parts. Then under the busy A13.

A bit of somewhat overgrown path leading down to the Thames (A13 in distance).

The Thames is not that particularly pretty down here, loads of industry on both banks, mainly waste recycling with associated odours.

A plaque celebrating the Pilgrim Ferry which for many years used to ply across the river between Rainham and Erith. Not sure if the plaque is actually at the point the ferry departed as the pier at Erith on the other side is quite a bit further down. This is the missing link which could have made the London Loop a real loop.

The Tilda Rice factory, the largest producer of basmati rice in the UK. Yes, we are never far from industry on this leg. But soon into the real Rainham marshes.

These concrete barges were once used during the D-Day landings (though some dispute this), later used as flood defences but now abandoned on the shore.

Close by is The Diver. Designed by sculptor John Kaufmann and has been there, often submerged just like a diver at high tide, since 2000. He sadly died shortly afterwards.

The church of St John the Baptist in Erith across the river, close to where I started my Loop walk back in February.

And the Darent Barrier, another highlight of section 1 where the Thames Path currently ends abruptly and the Loop turns off it to follow the Darent into Crayford.

Just before the end of the walk is the RSPB Rainham Marshes visitor centre where if we had time we could explore a bird watching paradise along 2.5 miles of path. Also a possible lunch stop but we pressed on into Purfleet.

Now Purfleet Heritage Museum, only open Sundays and Thursdays, this is the last surviving of five gunpowder stores (housing is now where the other four were). Might be worth visiting another time.

So after 150 odd miles and quite a few adventurous days here I am at the official end of the London Loop, mission completed. Just a short walk from there to Purfleet station where we caught the C2C and back to Waterloo. We had an enjoyable celebratory lunch in the Wellington right opposite the station - artwork of the famous Duke adorned the ceiling and plaques with some history, but it seems apart from the Battle of Waterloo name there was no direct connection.

Section 23