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The Mardyke (sometimes, but less frequently, Mar Dyke, occasionally Mardike) is a small river, mainly in Thurrock, that flows into the River Thames
River Thames
at Purfleet, close to the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. In part, it forms the boundary between the Essex
Essex
hundreds of Barstable and Chafford. The river gives its name to the Mardyke Valley—a project aimed at increasing appreciation and usage of recreational land around the Mardyke.

Contents

1 Location, source and tributaries 2 Name 3 History 4 Recreation and wildlife 5 See also 6 References

Location, source and tributaries[edit]

The main source of the Mardyke in Holden's Wood

The main source of the Mardyke is in Holden's Wood between Great Warley and Little Warley.[1] It flows roughly 11 miles (18 km) from the source to the Tideway
Tideway
of the Thames at Purfleet, close to the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. There are two tributaries flowing south from Thorndon Country Park, in the grounds of Thorndon Hall. One of these flows south from Old Hall Pond. The pond has a sluice gate that could be opened to allow the water to flow over an artificial waterfall – the sort of water feature popular with landscape gardeners such as Lancelot "Capability" Brown
Lancelot "Capability" Brown
who landscaped the grounds of Thorndon Hall
Thorndon Hall
in the 18th century, although the pond itself dates from the 13th century.[2] Another tributary flows west from Dunton Plotlands
Dunton Plotlands
section of the Langdon Nature Reserve in Langdon Hills and another flows east from Upminster. Name[edit] The name means "boundary ditch".[3] It is mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon charter dated 1062 (S 1036) as part of the boundary for Upminster, although this charter is probably a post-conquest forgery.[4] It has also been called "the Flete"[5] (flete is derived from flēot, an Old English word for "small estuary") and more simply "the brook".[4] One of the Mardyke's tributaries flows from Childerditch. This name appears as "celta" in a 7th-century charter (S 1246). Celta may be the pre-Saxon name for the ditch which flows into the Mardyke[6] and may also be an early name for the Mardyke itself.[7] For most of its course, the river acts as a parish boundary and in part, the river forms the boundary between the Essex
Essex
hundreds of Barstable and Chafford. History[edit] Between Stifford
Stifford
and the Rainham marshes where the Mardyke enters the Thames, the river flows through a relatively steep sided valley formed by an earlier position of the Thames.[8] There is ancient woodland on the valley slopes and the land close to the river was used for grazing. Pollen evidence from the Mardyke valley shows that there was woodland regeneration at the end of the Roman period and into the early Anglo-Saxon period.[9] There is a substantial bridge over the Mardyke at Stifford. A medieval stone bridge was built in 1487, although this has subsequently been replaced more than once.[10] Various archaeological objects have been found in the Mardyke close to Stifford
Stifford
Bridge. These include a hammerstone, a small sword[11] and a Pilgrim badge.[12] There was a water mill on the Mardyke at Purfleet
Purfleet
in the 14th century, that was owned by the Knights Templar.[13] From about 1760, sluice gates protected the lowlying land through which the Mardyke flows from the tidal and saline Thames. The Mardyke was an important communication corridor connecting the River Thames
River Thames
to the inland fen landscape to the northeast.[14] In the 19th century and earlier, the Mardyke was navigable to Bulphan. Using a network of drainage ditches, manure from London was brought to local farms and agricultural produce taken to market.[15] In the 18th century, when the river was still tidal, it may have been navigable as far as Orsett Hall
Orsett Hall
at high tide.[16] During the first world war, a PoW camp was sited close to where the Mardyke enters the Thames.[17] Recreation and wildlife[edit]

Part of the Mardyke Way at Bulphan

The river gives its name to the Mardyke Valley—a project aimed at increasing the appreciation and usage of recreational land around the Mardyke[18]—which is a part of the Thames Chase
Thames Chase
Community Forest.[19] The project includes a seven-mile riverside walk known as the Mardyke Way, running from Ship Lane, Aveley
Aveley
to Orsett
Orsett
Fen.[20] In 2005, the project received a grant of over £600,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).[21] The Mardyke Way passes through Davy Down, a 32 acres (13 ha) riverside park between Lakeside Shopping Centre
Lakeside Shopping Centre
and South Ockendon
South Ockendon
that was opened in 1993.[22] The park includes the Victorian Stifford
Stifford
viaduct and the pumping station which is open to the public on Thursday afternoons and at other times when the warden is present.[23] The flow of the Mardyke is very sluggish at this point, allowing the growth of bur reed and common reed.[24] The river itself has been designated a wild life corridor, allowing flora and fauna to move from one site to another.[25] To the north of the Mardyke Way close to Stifford, the river also gives its name to Mardyke Woods, although these are actually a combination of three ancient woods—Brannet's Wood, Millard's Wood and Low Well Wood.[26] To the north of the river at Stifford
Stifford
is the Mardyke Valley Golf Club, an 18-hole (par 70) course set in the grounds of Ford Place and opened in 2002.[27] In 2010, Andrew Mackinlay MP opened a new bridge over the Mardyke at Purfleet. This bridge – named the Veolia Mardyke Bridge – links Purfleet
Purfleet
to the Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve.[28] See also[edit]

Tributaries of the River Thames List of rivers of England

References[edit]

^ Thurrock
Thurrock
Flood Risk Assessment ^ Thorndon Country Park ^ Reaney, PH (1935). The Place-names of Essex. CUP. p. 8. ISBN 0-521-07505-X.  ^ a b Hart, Cyril (1971). The Early Charters of Essex. Leicester University Press. ISBN 0-7185-2000-9.  ^ Harrold, Christopher, ed. (2008). Exploring Thurrock. Thurrock
Thurrock
Local History Society. p. 34. ISBN 0-9506141-4-9.  ^ Reaney, PH (1935). The Place-names of Essex. Cambridge University Press. p. 124. ISBN 0-521-07505-X.  ^ Kemble, James (2007). Essex
Essex
Place-Names. Historical Publications. p. 58.  ^ Hunter, John (1999). The Essex
Essex
Landscape. Essex
Essex
Record Office. p. 21.  ^ Rippon, Stephen (2008). Beyond the Medieval Village. Oxford University Press. p. 168.  ^ VCH, volume 8 ^ The Archaeological Journal, 1869 ^ Yellow Advertiser ^ VCH, volume 8 ^ Land of the Fanns Landscape Character Assessment, Alison Farmer Associates ^ Barges to Bulphan
Bulphan
Thurrock
Thurrock
Local History Society ^ British History Online ^ Catton, Jonathan (December 1999). "Well Hit". Panorama, The Journal of the Thurrock
Thurrock
Local History Society (39).  ^ Mardyke Valley ^ Thames Chase
Thames Chase
Archived 11 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Recreational areas in Thurrock
Thurrock
Archived 8 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Heritage Lottery Fund
Heritage Lottery Fund
Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Davy Down Archived 17 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Davy Down, Thurrock
Thurrock
Council ^ Essex
Essex
& Suffolk Water ^ Appendix 7 to Thurrock
Thurrock
Development Plan ^ Forestry Commission ^ Mardyke Valley Golf Club Archived 8 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Thurrock
Thurrock
Thames Gateway Development Corporation Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.

Next confluence upstream River Thames Next confluence downstream

River Ingrebourne
River Ingrebourne
(north) Mardyke River Darent
River Darent
(south)

v t e

Thurrock

Traditional parishes in Thurrock

Aveley Bulphan Chadwell St Mary Corringham East Tilbury Fobbing Grays Horndon-on-the-Hill Langdon Hills Little Thurrock Mucking Orsett South Ockendon Stanford-le-Hope Stifford West Thurrock West Tilbury

Other places in Thurrock

Baker Street Belhus Biggin Bill Meroy Creek Chafford Gorges Nature Park Chafford Hundred Globe Pit Hangman's Wood High House, Purfleet Linford Wood Lower Horse Mardyke (river) Orsett
Orsett
Heath Purfleet Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve Shell Haven Terrel's Heath Thurrock
Thurrock
Thameside Nature Park Tilbury
Tilbury
Town

Historic buildings in Thurrock

Baker Street Mill, Orsett Bata Factory Belmont Castle Coalhouse Fort The Dell High House, Purfleet Orsett
Orsett
Hall South Ockendon
South Ockendon
Windmill State C

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