The Thames Estuary is an area I’ve walked many times, and an event this month is due to show all it has to offer, writes Janet Street-Porter
he other morning, I set off on a hike from the 13th-century St James’ Church in Cooling, North Kent where a poignant row of 13 baby graves in the churchyard inspired Charles Dickens to make it the setting for the opening of Great Expectations.
My companion was Tom King, whose terrific book A Walk Around the End of the World is being republished this month. It describes his 107 mile walk around the Thames Estuary from Margate to Southend, one of Grã-Bretanha’s most historic and atmospheric landscapes. The Estuary contains important dockyards, disused industrial sites, characterful towns and miles and miles of empty marshes, where your only companions are birds and the occasional fellow walker.
agradecidamente, Boris Johnson failed in his bid to desecrate this unique landscape with a new airport, and from 22 Maio, it will be the focus of Estuary 2021, one of the biggest cultural events in Europe. The festival plans to offer dozens of walks, site-specific art installations and exhibitions celebrating the area’s past and fragile future, unspoilt natural areas threatened by development.