Walk Description This is a fairly long walk but with plenty to enjoy along the route. The scenery is beautiful throughout, with open farmland under the wide Essex sky, paddocks full of friendly horses, tumbledown farm buildings, distant views of St Nicholas Church, Canewdon and then a walk through the village itself; then there are views across the River Crouch towards Burnham, followed by a lovely walk on top of the sea wall alongside Paglesham Pool and Paglesham Reach. There is plenty of birdlife to see, and the boats bobbing around in Paglesham Reach are pretty in the sunshine.
The boatyard itself provides a bustling contrast to the rural calm of this walk. This is a small residential road and the parking is limited, but a single car should be able to squeeze in. From there, turn right up the main road past the pub, and look for a small side road 'Stewards Elm Farm Lane'. Follow this as far as the majestic gates, then turn left onto an unsigned footpath 1. This footpath runs south alongside a few paddocks. Walk along this path to the end of the paddocks, then turn right, heading west..
As you clear the paddocks, turn right north along the field edge so you are heading back north, until you come to the end of the field. At the field end don't go through the gate but turn left so that the small piece of woodland is to your right. Continue on, heading east, until you come to a concrete farm bridge into the field on your right.
At this point there are a series of paddocks in front of you. Entry to the first is over a stile right in the corner of the paddock, by the hedge 2. When we walked this route there was an electric fence across the first paddock, with an access point to the right north end, using an insulated hook fastening. After this there are 2 more stiles to cross, before exiting the final paddock through or over a white 5-bar gate onto a farm track 3.
Once on the farm track turn right north away from the farm. After a while the track disappears and you find yourself on a footpath with more paddocks on the right. Keep going north until you reach a gate opening onto Apton Hall Road.
Be warned; the traffic can go very fast along this lane. Across the road immediately opposite this gate is a track north into a field. Walk along this until you pass some semi-derelict farm buildings belonging to Apton Hall Farm; after these look for the right turn into the farmyard.
Walk past some more modern buildings and as you come to the last, you'll see a grassy track into a field on your left. Turn onto this heading north with the hedge on your right hand side. Walk along this field edge and continue straight on into the next field. After a while the hedge on your right stops and you see your first view of Canewdon Church.
Keep going north until you come to a hedge at right angles to your path 4. Ahead you can see a distant 5-barred gate; but turn right east keeping the hedge on your left, until you come to a gate taking you on to a bridleway. Turn left on the bridleway and follow this until you reach Lark Hill road. On Lark Hill Road, turn left heading north. After 50 yards or so the road takes a sharp left turn, at the junction with the private track to Woodford Meats Farm Shop.
Stay on Lark Hill Road heading west for another 70 yards, and cross the small plank-bridge at the footpath sign on the right hand side of the road. This footpath cuts diagonally across the bottom corner of the field, to the hedgeline. Cross over the farm track and through another break in the hedge opposite where the footpath goes straight across the field up towards St Nicholas' Church, Canewdon.
Go up to Canewdon Church, through the churchyard exiting through the larger gate; the kissing gate is locked , past the Village Lock-up, and along Canewdon High Street. There's some nice views across gently rolling farmland from this path. Carry on to the end of this footpath, just after the gates to the fishing lake on your right.
Then turn right near a fallen tree. This takes you behind the lake: Once past the lake, head towards the footbridge you can see slightly to the left, across the field. You are now headed roughly eastwards across a series of fields linked by footbridges. The second footbridge cannot be seen from the first; head in the direction of the farm buildings you can see across the valley until you spot it.
Take in the views across the River Crouch! Continue on from footbridge to footbridge: Before you reach the bushes, turn right towards the farm. Once you get to the farm, go straight ahead between the paddocks and onto a farm track. Exit the farm track by the gate onto Creeksea Ferry Road and turn left. Follow the road as it twists and turns, looking for a footbridge on your right 8. This takes you onto part of the Roach Valley Way. Follow the path straight ahead onto the marshes, then turn right as the path turns parallel to a line of electricity poles.
Keep going for about half a mile, until you come to a gate which takes you onto the sea wall. Turn left onto the sea wall, then after yards or so, turn left again heading north east. You have wonderful views over the ever-changing marshes from here. After about a mile the coastline changes to a southeasterly direction; continue along the sea wall 9. Keep going for another mile until you reach Paglesham Boatyard Leaving the bustle of the boatyard behind you, continue on in a south-westerly direction for almost a mile to Blackedge Point Great flocks of birds use this area as a feeding and roosting place, particularly in the winter.
Seeing hundreds of birds take to the air simultaneously as you approach is an awe inspiring experience. Carry on westwards along the sea wall until you pass a clump of trees. At this point the sea wall is no longer walkable. Head 50 yards inland to a white shell lane 14 , and follow this westwards parallel with the sea wall, and then northwards inland, to Barton Hall. Turn left towards the metalled road and follow this until you see ahead of you a waymarker pointing back on to the sea wall.
Instead, continue on the road, bearing round to the right. After about 50 yards you will come to Hampton Barns Farm; the footpath bears to the right, heading away from the road on a grassy track between a row of Mountain Ash trees, and some Leylandii As you emerge from the avenue, you can see Great Stambridge in the distance.
Continue along the field edge to the road, then turn right to go back to the parking.