history and information about the local areas
info about the various locaations we cover:
Thurrock is a Saxon name the element "Grays" comes from Henry de Grai, a descendant of the Norman knight Anchetil de Greye, who was granted the manor of Grays Thurrock in 1195 by Richard I.
Grays is approximately 20 miles east of London on the north bank of the River Thames, and with easy access to A13 & M25 road links. The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, the longest cable-stayed bridge in Europe, across the Thames is nearby. Its economy is linked to Port of London industries, retail and Lakeside in West Thurrock.
Orsett is a village and ecclesiastical parish located within Thurrock borough, situated north-east of Grays and is a haven for those seeking country lifestyle on city boarders.
Purfleet is between the A13 to the north and the River Thames to the south and is within the M25 boundary but just outside the London boundary. Purfleet is benefiting hugely from The Thames Gateway Development and is one of seven conservation areas in Thurrock.
West Thurrock is along the Thames and includes a Unilever chilled distribution centre for all its chilled food products including Flora, Bertolli, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Most recently the area has been popular amongst home buyers due to the 1000’s of new home being built by new home builder to keep up with the demands of the london over-flow.
Chadwell-St-Mary is a residential area on the higher ground overlooking the former Thameside marshland. Grays is approximately 2 miles west of with the closest town being Tilbury town with c2c train links.
Tilbury is a town that was established in the late 19th century, on land that was mainly part of Chadwell-St-Mary. Tilbury port contributes to the local economy and recently there have been huge investment in blinding new homes and shopping facility to accommodate its ever growing community.
Aveley is a small town within Thurrock and one of the traditional (Church of England) parishes in Thurrock. It offers convenient links to A13 & M25 road links with Belhus Woods Country Park and Belhus Park Golf & Country Club within close reach.
Chafford Hundred provided great links into London Fenchurch Street and Southend, with a foot bridge connected to intu Lakeside Shopping Centre in the largely retail and distribution dominated area of West Thurrock. There are also many local amenities to serve the area including; restaurants, doctor’s surgery and 2 Tesco Express on each end on the area.
Stifford is divided by the A13 trunk road into two communities known respectively as North and South Stifford. South Sifford has recently seen huge investment from new home builder keeping up with demands for residential home. North Stifford is a village with a mixture of home from thatched roof cottages to modern town houses overlooking fields.
Some useful things to know about the area:
It was at West Tilbury that Queen Elizabeth 1st made her famous speech to her troops as the Spanish Armada sailed up the English Channel in 1588 . "I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman: but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a king of England too."
The Lakeside Shopping Centre, branded as Intu Lakeside in West Thurrock is a vast collection of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. The shopping centre, in addition to the retail parks, forms one of the largest shopping areas in a single location within Europe, with almost 2,600,000 square feet of retail space. You can also visit the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Greenhithe, Kent, just across the River Thames.
Blackshots Fields in Grays hosts The Big Weekend every August and features a massive live stage that plays host to bands and DJs. Motorsport enthusiasts will love Arena Essex, which regularly hosts speedway, banger and stock car racing events while football fans can watch Grays Athletic Football Club in action.
Thurrock Yacht Club, Grays Beach is the site of the local landmark The Gull, a lightship built in 1860, which has lain on the foreshore for decades.
Tilbury Fort is on the Thames estuary It protected London’s seaward approach from the 16th century through to the Second World War. Spend a great day out exploring the magazine houses and bastion magazine to get a feel for what it was like for the soldiers who lived here.
The Mardyke is a small river, mainly in Thurrock, that flows into the River Thames at Purfleet. It banks are a great place for a leisure walk and are home to many species of wildlife.Coalhouse Fort is a large casemated fort in East Tilbury, near the modern town of Tilbury, in Thurrock. It contains a museum of memorabilia from World War I and II.
Chafford Gorges Nature Park is at the heart of Chafford Hundred. It is an area of green space comprising approximately 200 acres of former chalk quarries known as Warren Gorge, Lion Gorge and Grays Gorge together with the connecting land of Mill Wood and Wouldham Cliffs.
Much of the Park is dominated by chalk soil and some of the meadow areas are incredibly diverse with many plant species dependent on the chalk conditions, including kidney vetch, bladder campion, and nine species of orchid including the bee orchid. In winter, the gorges are visited by birds such as siskin, redpoll and pochard. There are a number of lakes and fish species present include tench, rudd, pike and bream. Plant life includes the common spotted orchid, bee orchid and bird's-nest orchid. Trees include beech, oak, ash and sycamore.
Belhus Woods Country Park was originally part of the Belhus Estate, and parts of the "Capability" Brown designed landscaping can still be seen, especially the ponds and icehouse. With over 300 acres in South Essex, Belhus Woods combines ancient woodland, working woods, flower meadows, open grassland, and fishing and conservation lakes. It’s a great place to walk your dog, picnic by the lake, feed the ducks, go fishing or spot wildlife. There are many activities throughout the year for families and nature enthusiasts, such as riding the model railway, archery and watching model boats.
Belhus Park Golf & Country Club is located in an enviable location in the grounds of former Belhus Mansion. This well-established, 18 hole course extends over 46 acres of beautiful parkland, with open fairways on the front 9 and more demanding tree-lined fairways on the back 9. Open to the public, this par 69 course offers the perfect challenge to beginners and regulars alike, whilst experts can brush up on strokes and techniques.
Thurrock has excellent transport links, being close to the A13 road and the M25 motorway. The A126 London Road is the main road which links Grays town centre with Lakeside Shopping Centre, Purfleet and Tilbury.
Grays, Chafford hundred, Tilbury and South Ockendon is served by c2c and runs between Fenchurch Street station in the City of London to the west and Shoeburyness to the east.
Also Grays bus station by the station above is a hub for most bus services in Thurrock. The bus services are operated by Ensign bus, First Essex, Arriva Southend, Imperial Buses and Regal Busways.
The Thames Gateway Development aims to boost the economy of Thurrock through development of marshland, farmland and brownfield land. The Thames Gateway is the largest single regeneration initiative in North West Europe and the largest area of brownfield land in the South of England. The regeneration will create new business space, shops, schools, parks and transport links. Recently we have seen the completion of the new Thurrock Campus of South Essex College relocated to Grays town centre in September 2014 after a £45million investment. There will be 18,500 new homes and 26,000 new jobs by 2021. This growth will be supported by new community facilities and services and improved infrastructure.
The projects for the area include a National Skills Academy for Live Performing Arts and relocation of the Royal Opera House's scenery production facility. More information can be found here.