Through nature reserves and along the seawall
Songbirds, wild flowers and flying insects in summer; overwintering birds along the estuary and in the reedbeds.
The permissive path beside the Hassenbrooke and Mucking Creek can become overgrown in summer; still resembles a post-industrial wasteland in places, but improving all the time.
Fenchurch St line train to Stanford-le-Hope, or park near the entrance to Stanford Warren (D) or in side streets near B
Fairly flat, on well-established (but sometimes narrow and uneven) footpaths; sections on road and surfaced footpath through Stanford, with footbridge crossing over the railway.
Click on a marker on the map for route details
Stage AB: Stanford station to Wharf Road
Turn right outside the station, along London Road, and follow it (as it becomes Church Hill) to The Green, where you bear right and continue into Wharf Road. You join the circuit at Hadfield Road, which is the second turning on the right.
Stage BC: Grove House Wood and Stanford-le-Hope
Walk down to the end of Hadfield Road and turn left into Fairview Avenue, down to the entrance to Grove House Wood nature reserve. Follow the footpath down through the woods until it joins a footpath running alongside the River Hassenbrooke. Turn right to follow this out on to St Margaret's Avenue, turning left to cross the bridge across the river. Footpath 49 branches off right a short way down: follow it between houses and railway until, where the houses end, it turns right to cross the railway via a footbridge.
Stage CD: Stanford-le-Hope to Stanford Warren
The 'official' route is via the surfaced footpath: follow it straight on and turn left just before Butts Lane, following the path parallel to the road until you come out on Mucking Wharf Road, turning left and crossing the railway. For the shorter and pleasanter route, while available, turn left on to grassland after crossing the footbridge and follow the informal footpath down beside the railway, coming out on Mucking Wharf Road near the level crossing. After the level crossing, follow the road straight on until you see a former church on your left: the footpath continues straight on across the front of the boundary wall.
Stage DE: Stanford Warren and Mucking Creek
Follow the footpath straight on through the kissing gate and into Stanford Warren nature reserve, continuing along the causeway between the reedbeds. Immediately after the footbridge across the Hassenbrooke River, turn right on to a permissive footpath that runs beside the river, then along the edge of a meadow, then turns left up a short flight of steps on to the low seawall beside Mucking Creek. Follow the narrow footpath along the seawall then through a flowery area until you meet a track, turning left to follow it with the creek on your right. Follow the track as it swings left and, shortly after you pass a barrier, you come to the new seawall that turns off on the right.
Stage EF: Seawall path to Rainbow Lane
Follow the path along the top of the seawall with the mudflats of the former farmland on your right and beyond it the remains of the old seawall, with a large breach where the sea has been allowed through. Eventually you meet the old seawall and turn left to follow the path inland past saltmarsh on the right. Continue beside a chain-link fence, then turn left across the railway and on to join Rainbow Lane by an electricity substation.
Stage FG: Rainbow Lane and footpaths to Wharf Road
Walk c. 500m up Rainbow Lane and take a footpath on the left, a grassy track with a hedge on the right. Dogleg left and then right at a ditch, then pass through a short scrubby area before turning right to pass under power lines, then left again, still with a hedge on the right, then dogleg left and right again through the hedge to come out on Wharf Road.
Stage GB: Up Wharf Road to Hadfield Road
Turn right up Wharf Road, past allotments and then the cemetery on your left. To continue the circuit take the third turn on your left, Hadfield Road, to return to the station go straight on up to The Green and turn left into Church Hill.