Thames Path : Woolwich to Erith Pier

So, here we are again, another weekend, and another section of the Thames awaits. Unfortunately this weekend the weather alternated from cloudy to drizzle to sunny, so the pictures this week are not so great. Also the landscape of this part of the Thames shows sharply the transition from the capital river to an industrial river. The other theme for this walk is mud – lots of mud !

As usual, click on a photo to see it full size.

RIverside at Woolwich Arsenal pier

The walk starts at Woolwich pier. Last time I was here it was late afternoon sun – today – cloudy.

Looking forwards from Woolwich

Simple paving and a concrete railing start the walk to the east.

Looking back towards the City from Woolwich

Looking west, the City of London is already distant.

Abandoned pier

It does not take long before the landscape changes from modern flats and renovation to a more industrial theme.

Concrete pathway off to the east

Not so many walkers on this part of the Thames Path.

Vegetation at the water margin

A little further and some vegetation is found atop the man made waterline.

Gravel path amongst the bushes

The paved path comes to and and and transitions to gravel in amongst bushes on one side and outcrops of vegetation on the other. At various points the path splits into an upper path intended for cyclists and a lower path for walkers.

Lighthouse at Tripcock Ness

The light house at Tripcock Ness nestles amongst overgrown bushes.

Distance post

Colourful distance posts mark the way.

Looking back to the pillbox

A WW II pillbox looks over the river.

Bollards and metal fences line the walkway


Barking Creek flood barrier

City disappearing from view

At several stages the walk swaps between gravel paths and paved areas.

Transition from concrete to gravel

As second light house can be found on the approach to Cross Ness.

Second lighthouse at Cross Ness


The marshes

As the tide was going out, it exposed the mud flats on the southern shore.

Lowering tide exposes the edge of the mud flat

Plenty of birds were wading out across the flats. Signs warned humans not to attempt this.

Cross Ness coming into view

A short walk further and the Cross Ness waste treatment works comes into view. And then into your nose !  Pewww!

Sludge incinerator

The incinerator here burns dried sewerage. Yumm ! The walkways here are very industrial – railings on one side, high concrete wall on the other. Not much to see and best walked quickly with your nose closed ! A little further and another energy recovery unit was working away – the Riverside Resource Recovery.

New processing plant

A little further on and the smell from the sewerage works disappeared in the stiff breeze – at least that was one advantage of this cloudy, windy day.

Information board at Cross Ness


Looking back to the incinerator – peweww


Dockside crane

Two cranes were busy unloading and re-loading barges.

More mud


Industrial conveyors cross overhead the path

A series of factories, industrial units and large industrial plants now fill most of the remainder of the walk.

The path rises up over a roadway

The plans sit on the land side of the walk and the path is crossed by many conveyor belts and pipes.

Erith comes into view in the distance

Rounding a few corners, the site of a church spire comes into view at about the same time as the Dartford river crossing in the distance.

Mud, mud, mud

The theme of the walk from now to the end at Erith was mud. Lots of mud!

Mud and an abandoned pier

More mud.

Muddy abandonment

And more mud.

Mud flats

Mud even fills the inlets.

Muddy inlet

In fact, you need a long walkway if you want to get from the shore to the river and avoid all the mud. Even then, is is not advised.

Caution – mud!

Curiously, the original plans for Erith were to make it into a resort, so it has its own pier – which leads out across the mud and into the deeper water.

Erith pier

From the end of the pier the next section of walk is visible – or at least the destination – Dartford, some 8-10 miles away.

Dartford river crossing in the distance


Total distance: 13.27 km (8.2 mi)
Average speed: 4.20 km/h (2.6 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 4.48 km/h (2.8 mi/h)
Max speed: 14.64 km/h (9.1 mi/h)
Average pace: 14.28 min/km (23.0 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 13.40 min/km (21.6 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 4.10 min/km (6.6 min/mile)
Max elevation: 91 m (298 ft)
Min elevation: 26 m (86 ft)
Elevation gain: 339 m (1113 ft)
Max grade: 35 %
Min grade: -13 %

Live scrollable/zoomable map of the walk:

6 thoughts on “Thames Path : Woolwich to Erith Pier

  1. Anne Wright

    I found your pictures and stats abut the Woolwich to Erith Pier walk very useful. I’m part of a cycling club and we needed to know how far it was etc and this was excellent.
    thanks for taking the time to produce such detailed walks

    1. wpadmin Post author

      Glad you liked it. Sorry the latest walks have no distances. Google my tracks is not so easy to use as before.

  2. Chris Shirley

    While being at home, I found your blog, very interesting. I shall join it at Belvedere to Erith.
    Thank you

    1. wpadmin Post author

      Thanks Chris. My current walking route (Capital Ring) is paused at the moment during the lock-down. Hope you enjoy the path when you get a chance.

    1. wpadmin Post author

      I’m not sure! I gave up trying to find further riverside routes in the area – seem to be lots of businesses that block the shoreline.

      You might be able to get public transport in e.g. Purfleet that crosses the QEII bridge that drops you offin Temple Hill or Barnes Cray or Slade Green. Beware the river Darent though – there is no crossing near the mouth into the Thames – need to cross at the A206 or similar.


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