Mardyke Valley


The Mardyke Valley is located close to South Ockendon, North Stifford and Chafford Hundred. The valley has a wide range of habitats including woodland, grassland, river, ponds, scrub and meadows.

The valley's features include:

  • car parking at Stifford Bridge (limited) or Davy Down Riverside Park
  • toilets at Davy Down
  • good areas for walkers
  • formal and informal paths
  • attractive views
  • hard surfaced paths at Davy Down
  • hard surfaced bridleway and path linking Stifford Bridge to Causeway Bridge
  • paths through the Mardyke Woods are slightly hilly and may be soft after rain

Dogs should be kept on leads or under control. Expect to see cyclists and horses on the path linking North Stifford and Aveley

Heritage trail

There is a footpath and bridleway along the heritage trail which is suitable for walkers, wheelchair users, and cyclists.

Davy Down Riverside Park

Davy Down is the site for the Stifford Pumping Station which still contains the original diesel engines. Outside there is a hard surfaced path suitable for buggies and wheelchair users and seating, where you can rest and enjoy the surroundings.

Find out more about Davy Down Riverside Park.


The arches of the viaduct frame the valley and are known locally as Fourteen Arches. They carry trains between South Ockendon and Chafford Hundred.


The words Mar Dyke means boundary ditch and beginning in the Brentwood Hills, the Mardyke River flows across the fens at Bulphan and Orsett, entering the River Thames at Purfleet.


As you walk along the trail you will see a number of sculptures depicting local wildlife. Created by the artist Ptolemy Elrington, they are made from recycled materials found in the area including abandoned shopping trolleys.

Mardyke Woods

The Mardyke Woods are amongst the oldest surviving woodlands in Essex and are located on the valley slopes. They are comprised of Brannett’s Wood, Millard’s Garden and Low Well Wood. The trees are mainly of oaks, ash, Hazel and Sweet Chestnut. Wildflowers flourish on the woodland floor having benefited from the coppicing of the trees. Flowers include bluebells, primroses and wood anemones. Fungi can be found in autumn.