People and places of historical interest in Thurrock
The Mardyke Way
|The Mardyke Way is a
7 mile footpath along the side of the Mardyke from Ship
Lane, Aveley to Bulphan, passing through Davy
Down riverside park. It was
opened in 2007 as part of the Thames Chase community
The footpath starts in a fairly steep sided valley, formed by an ancient meander in the Thames. The slopes have some ancient woodland, and the valley floor was grazed.
The path follows the 19th century (and earlier) route used by barges to reach farms at Bulphan - see Barges to Bulphan. It passes under the historic Stifford bridge which was a medieval stone bridge built in 1487, but has been rebuilt several times since. Close to the bridge, various artifacts have been recovered, including a medieval pilgrim's badge. Formerly, the Mardyke was tidal and it was possible to reach Orsett Hall at high tide, but this ended with the building of a sluice gate at Purfleet in 1760 as part of the construction of the gunpowder magazine. After leaving Stifford, the landscape surrounding the path becomes the flat lands of the Orsett and Bulphan fens.
The name "Mardyke" means
boundary ditch and it forms part of the boundary between
the Chafford and Barstable hundreds. It is mentioned in
an Anglo-Saxon charter from around the time of the Norman
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