From Rainham the route is along roads until you reach the River Thames. Take a moment to enjoy the views before turning left to follow the gravel path. Across the river the wharf of Erith can easily be seen and this is where Section 1 of the London LOOP begins.
The view to your right is dominated by the river, with its south bank diminutive in the distance, while shipping adds further interest. On the foreshore is a 'graveyard' of historic concrete barges used during the D-Day Landings of the Second World War, while a heritage mural painted by local students, a rice packaging plant and a waste transfer station occupy the adjacent land.
To your left and ahead are Rainham and Wennington Marshes, including a former military firing range which was bought from the Ministry of Defence in July 2000 by the RSPB. Its former use as shooting ranges has preserved much of the original medieval land-form and marshland wildlife and it is now the largest remaining expanse of wetland bordering the upper reaches of the Thames Estuary.
The path continues along the river’s edge to join up with the path on Averley Marshes and onto to Purfleet.
Eventually you come to the river wall with breathtaking views down to the great Queen Elizabeth II bridge and to the left, the RSPB Rainham Marshes Visitor Centre which has toilets, refreshments and a shop. The path continues past the Visitor Centre, crosses the stream and then follows the water’s edge into Purfleet.
5.5 miles ( 9 km)
Northwest to southeast
Terrain and surface:
Almost entirely level, with one or two short gentle slopes. Mostly hard surface, some on grass. No stiles, some high steps. 2.6km (1.6 miles) beside roads
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Refreshments and toilets:
Pubs and cafés at Rainham and Purfleet (but no public toilets), café and toilets at the RSPB Visitor Centre
Public transport and breakpoints:
Rail/buses: Rainham, Purfleet
For more information on public transport please see Transport for London's Journey Planner.
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