A new near 50-mile trail will connect London and Kent, giving walkers the chance to get closer to nature.
The 47.12 mile Grain to Woolwich stretch of the English Coast Path will allow walkers to take in an abundance of wildlife and wonderful sights. Starting from Grain on the Hoo Peninsula, the route offers views of Southend-on-Sea and Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey, as well as the confluence of the Medway and Thames.
There are also some of the south east’s remote grazing marshes to explore. You will pass the 12 mile stretch between Allhallows and Cliffe without encountering a car park or even another a coastal village. Instead, you will come across small pocket beaches and mudflats that are likely to be hosting wading birds.
If you’re lucky, as you continue along the river, you may encounter a grey seal.
The Thames Estuary itself hosts wildlife that are of national and international importance. Birdwatchers will get to spot waterbirds including avocet and dunlin, while the Cliffe Pools nature reserve is another great location for encountering some feathered friends.
The route is also ideal for history lovers – along the way, you will get to see the fort at Shornemead, amongst others.
Visitors have the chance to follow the path through Swanscombe Peninsula too. Recently confirmed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the area’s industrial past has led to habitats that are perfectly suited for a variety of wildlife.
Ending in Woolwich, the route joins the Thames Path National Trail, which can be followed to the source of the river in the Cotswolds.
Marian Spain, Natural England Chief Executive said: “At a time when the benefits of connecting with nature are clearer than ever, it’s fabulous that we are opening up this 47 mile-long section of footpath from the capital to the Kent coast. Easily walkable in all weathers and readily accessible by public transport, it is a wonderful new recreational resource for the hundreds of thousands of people who live nearby, as well as a tourist attraction for those who will come from around the world to walk the whole Path.”
Lord Benyon, Minister for Rural Affairs and access to nature said: “The England Coast Path is greatly improving access to our cherished coastlines and connecting people across the country with nature, in line with our 25 Year Environment Plan. Home to a diverse array of bird life at this time of year, this latest stretch links the salt marshes and mudflats of the Thames Estuary with the heart of London. I encourage people of all ages and abilities to venture outdoors and explore this fantastic new path for themselves.”
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Home to a diverse array of bird life at this time of year, this latest stretch links the salt marshes and mudflats of the Thames Estuary with the heart of London