London Loop to Coldharbour Point


Mum, Penny (my sister-in-law, currently abandoned by my brother who is in New Zealand unicycling, er, I mean, on a study exchange, for six months) and I walked the final section of the London Loop.

In one of the newly-created country parks (I can't remember if this one was created from an old landfill or not, but most of them were) we found this bizarre elongated duck-seat.
1/90 at f11, 10mm, ISO100

I actually didn't take many pictures for most of the walk, which was through various parks. There was an entertaining point where we almost-waded through puddles in the marshy ground - that was on a metalled path, but it was still flooded. Other than that there were some nice bits but it wasn't very photogenic. We eventually reached Rainham station which was the last station on the route, and Penny left us because she had to get back to Twickenham. Mum and I, however, were determined to walk to the absolute finish, even though that just meant having to walk back.

To the river

Beside the normal railway line we had to cross a huge footbridge over the newly-constructed tracks of the Channel Tunnel rail link (confusing us somewhat, as we thought it belonged on the other side of the river).

These pylons provide power to the new line.
1/30 at f11, 13mm, ISO100

The route followed roads like Ferry Lane (the ferry long since gone) through a desolate industrial area, so things were looking up.

But I don't think the café was really open.
1/30 at f8, 10mm, ISO100
Wasn't the Titanic a White Star Line ship? Maybe this container came from a sister vessel... actually there's no connection, but still.
1/45 at f8, 16mm, ISO100
That's a big pile of containers.
1/90 at f5.6, 22mm, ISO100
Hornett Bros & Co Ltd are 'a major supplier of sulphurised additives to the lubricant blending industry, apparently, but tree preservation is probably not a core business.
1/90 at f6.7, 13mm, ISO100

The Thames at last

Finally we reached the Thames and set off eastward along the riverside path toward the nearby Tilda Rice plant.

Gates to a Tilda Rice pier.
1/45 at f8, 15mm, ISO100
You could actually smell the rice.
1/20 at f6.7, 22mm, ISO100
Rusted pipe and the plant behind.
1/45 at f6.7, 10mm, ISO200

We continued on for Coldharbour Point as the sun sank in the sky, making an appropriate end to the walk.

This is taken through a gate; you couldn't actually walk out along this jetty. The pipe looked like some kind of outfall; it slumped into the river at the end, floating with the tide.
1/10 at f9.5, 20mm, ISO200
Sunset across the river.
1/20 at f9.5, 22mm, ISO200

Finally that was it - the end of the 150 mile long-distance path. Not a very auspicious end; a padlocked gate and barbed-wire fence, along with a collapsed 'no access to pedestrians' sign, as part of the landfill site on Coldharbour Point.

We were a bit disappointed not to reach the beacon on the tip of the point, but still - this was the end of the walk!
1/10 at f8, 22mm, ISO400
From here the only way was back.
1/15 at f8, 22mm, ISO400

The Loop is eventually supposed to continue to Purfleet, once they finish clearing up the landfill site. But for now we turned back along the bank, as daylight faded away.

A skeletal diver sculpture, covered at high tide; some old boats; and the factory opposite, where we had just watched a red ship mooring after coming around the point.
1/20 at f2.8, 30mm, ISO400
Some old barges dumped here. These were supposedly used to transport concrete as part of the D-Day landings.
1/30 at f1.8, 30mm, ISO400
The Tilda plant again, and a distant wind turbine in the background.
1/45 at f2.8, 30mm, ISO800
That wind turbine and the lights of the north bank, through an access ladder over the flood wall.
1/45 at f2.5, 30mm, ISO800
The south bank, seen over channels in the low-tide mud.
1/8 at f2.5, 30mm, ISO800

And that's it! We aren't sure which long-distance path to attempt next, but it may very likely be more of a countryside walk. Maybe I won't even need to take a camera. We'll see.

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.