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Benfleet to Leigh-on-Sea Circular

Explore the Essex coastline, castle ruins, and a beautiful country park.

Hiking Moderate

12 km
87 m
87 m
2-3 hrs
Low Point
2 m
High Point
23 m
Benfleet to Leigh-on-Sea Circular Map

Embrace the elements as you stand atop of a sea wall, wander through the elegant Hadleigh Country Park, and check out the ruins of Hadleigh Castle, all in this 7-mile coastal loop.


From London to Benfleet, it’s just over an hour on the train, making this route an easy escape into nature. Starting your walk from Benfleet train station, head southeast in the direction of Benfleet Creek, where you need to hop on the signed footpath to Hadleigh Marsh. The route utilizes part of the Thames Estuary Path, which is well0signed and fairly flat.

Walking through the marshland, look out across the water, and you will spot Two Tree Island, Hadleigh Ray, and Canvey Island. Following along the sea wall, the path comes to Leigh-on-Sea, a relatively quaint fishing village.

Continuing west, the route then changes direction, swapping sea breeze for the lush woodland, pasture, and hay meadows of Hadleigh Country Park. The trail begins a slight incline up to the spectacular 13th century Hadleigh Castle, which enjoys fantastic views out across the Essex coast, countryside and the River Thames.

From the castle ruins, the path descends down through the park towards the rolling Benfleet Downs, before leading you back to your starting point at Benfleet train station.

Sources: http://www.thamesestuarypath.co.uk/ https://www.walkingclub.org.uk/walk/benfleet-circular-via-leigh-on-sea/



Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

between March and November


  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Family friendly

Guidebooks in this area