Walks along the Thames with Rob Smith, Footprints of London
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Walking the Thames From City to Sea.

During 2017 Footprints of London guide Rob Smith will be leading a series of twelve guided walks along the Thames, looking at aspects of the river's history along the way. Starting in the streets of East London, the walks will go out into the marshland and big skies of Essex and Kent before reaching the sea at Shoeburyness. The walks take in relatively unexplored places that offer some peaceful walking, yet are less than an hours train ride from central London. On the way Rob will talk about themes like industrial and military history, housing, film and archaeology. The story of London really is tied in with this part of the Thames.

Here is the schedule

Walk 1: The Long Good Friday Revisited
In John Mackenzie's 1980 film "The Long Good Friday" Bob Hoskin's gangster character Harold Shand foresees the redevelopment of London's docks and the coming of the Olympics to London. This walk through Wapping looks at locations used in the film, some of which have changed radically, some which are still recognisable. On the way Rob will talk about the redevelopment of the area during the 1980's
Walk distance 3 miles
Wednesday 1st March 10:30am
Saturday 4th March 10:30am
Walk 2: Maritime Blackwall - Spice Traders and Ship Builders
Blackwall was once home to the East India Dock - where goods from Asia like pepper, indigo and Persian carpets were once unloaded. It was also home to important ship building yards, and the place of departure for expeditions to North America. This walk tells the story of the East India Company and the ships built in Blackwall.
Walk distance 2 miles
Thursday 16th March 11am
Saturday 18th March 11am
Walk 3: The Royal Docks, Thames Barrier and Woolwich Ferry
Completed between 1851 and 1921 the Royal Docks were the largest and most advanced in the world. This walk looks at the goods that arrived in the docks and the industries based around them. We will also see the Thames Barrier - the piece of engineering that keeps Londoner's safe. The wallk ends with a journey on the Woolwich Ferry - one of London's most retro experiences!
Walk distance 5.5 miles
Wednesday 29th March 11am
Saturday 1st April 11am
Walk 4: Around Tripcock Ness - The History of the Thamesmead Area
Tripcock Ness is a dangerous bend in the Thames, once home to a dangerous business - the manufacture of explosives at the Royal Woolwich Arsenal. This walk looks at the legacy of this military site and Thamesmead the 1960's "city of the future" that replaced it.
Walk distance 6 miles
Wednesday 3rd May 11am
Saturday 6th May 11am
Walk 5: Industrial History of Dagenham Dock
Dagenham is synonymous with the huge Ford motor works, but the area has a long history of industrial innovation. Weaving around container parks and oil terminals, this walk looks at one of London's last industrial areas that is slowly giving way to housing.
Walk distance 5 miles
Wednesday 17th May 11am
Saturday 20th May 11am
Walk 6: Through the Marshes - Along the Thames from Rainham to Purfleet
Starting with a walk through the grounds of Rainham Hall this walk continues through the marshes that were once the last stop for military recruits on the way to the Somme and ends at a house connected with Dracula
Walk distance 5 miles
Wednesday 7th June 11am
Saturday 10th June 11am
Walk 7: To The Lighthouse - A Guided Walk Around the Swanscombe Peninsula
This walk starts with a visit to the site of one of the oldest archaeological sites in Britain, before visiting the beautiful Ingress Abbey and crossing the lonely Swanscombe peninsula, home to the Broadness lighthouse, a place with a fantastic view of the Thames
Walk distance 5 miles
Wednesday 21st June 11am
Saturday June 24th 11am
Walk 8: Gravesend and Tilbury - A Walk in Kent and Essex

The walk starts in historic Gravesend, during the 19th Century a popular day trip destination for Londoners. On the walk we will look at some of the historic buildings in the town before taking the ferry over to Essex. On the other side of the river is Tilbury, home to the famous container port, but also the place where Elizabeth I addressed her troops as fears grew of the invading Spanish Armada.

Walk distance 4 miles
Wednesday 5th July 11am
Saturday 8th July 11am
Walk 9: Czech Shoes and Mucking Flats - along the Thames to Stanford Le Hope

In the 1930s the Czech footwear firm BATA opened a factory in East Tilbury, a striking modernist design inspired in part by Bauhaus ideas. The factory was closed down in 2005 but is now a conservation area, and we'll take a look at it on the walk. We pass Coalhouse Fort - a defensive structure dating back to 1402, then walk along the river wall across Mucking Flats - an area of marshland popular with wildfowl with views of passing ships and oil refineries.

Walk distance 7 miles

Wednesday 19th July 11am
Saturday 22nd July 11am
Walk 10: The Edge of Oil City - A Walk in Canvey Island

Canvey Island is known as a holiday resort in the Thames Estuary but on this walk you'll see the quieter side of the island. We will walk the wall that keeps low lying Canvey from flooding, and talk about the terrible 1953 floods. Canvey Island has been inhabited since the Romans and Rob will tell the story of the island as we walk, including the failed plan to join the island to the mainland, the history of the oil business, and local legends Dr Feelgood.

Walk distance 8 miles

Wednesday 30th August 11am
Saturday 2nd September 11am
Walk 11: To Constable's Castle - A Walk from Leigh on Sea

This walk visits Hadleigh Castle, perched up on the hill above the Thames Estuary, it was painted by Constable. You can see the painting at Tate Britain. Rob will show you around the castle before walking through Hadleigh Marshes on the return to Leigh on Sea, a town with lots of history - from the Pilgrim Fathers to Dunkirk

Walk distance 5 miles

Wednesday 27th September 11am
Saturday 30th September 11am
Walk 12: Mouth of the River - Thorpe Bay to Shoeburyness

Starting in the sleepy suburb of Thorpe Bay this walk continues along the final part of the Thames Estuary to Shoeburyness where we'll look at the buildings of the former Victorian army barracks. The walk ends on East Beach where you can look out to sea and usually find pieces of Victorian ceramics that have come from the Thames a good souvenir of your journey if you have completed all twelve of the walks.

Walk distance 4 miles

Wednesday 11th October 11am
Saturday 14th October 11am
All walks cost £12 or £9 for concessions. You may need walking boots for some of the walks as they cross uneven terrain, but none of the walks is difficult. You can find details of many more walks on the Footprints of London website.
Copyright © 2017 Footprints of London, All rights reserved.

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