Friday 11th June 2021
This unique Hydrodetour starts at Dartford Station and leads us out along the Darent River to its confluence with the Cray River towards the River Thames; then for those adventurous urban explorers continues to the River, to walk long, into the evening and reach Gravesend.
Darent Valley Confluence (with J D Swann)
For the first afternoon walk – fully accessible at approximately 2 ½ miles long on this loop tour we are joined by inspiral associate J D Swann who will guide us in all things orniphilosophical. This short walk reveals the contrast between urban environment and its marshy underpinnings, while allowing us to enjoy the bio-diversity of the watery commons.
Con/fluences to Graves/End (with Charlie Fox)
Then, as the walk to the edge of Dartford and Cray Marsh finishes with light refreshments, those wishing to return to Dartford will be guided back to the Station. All other long exploratory walkers will be invited on an adventurous night walk along the Thames toward Gravesend.
As we pass under the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge dusk arrives, we head toward Swanscombe Marsh and the ghostly memory of our prehistoric origin.
See more here
Later on, as we pass through Northfleet by night, we hear again the sounds of Rosherville Pleasure Gardens. This evening into night walk is approx. 12 miles to arrive at Gravesend around 9.30pm. Trains run to North Kent or back to London.
Please bring an evening picnic and/or refreshments and some sensible, comfortable walking boots or equivalent.
Depending on Covid rules – and group walking permitted - the walk will be managed in two parts by experienced walk guides. Both parts of this walking event start from Dartford Station but visit here for up to date information.
About the project
“Walking, a practice of on the ground mapping, allows us to imagine together other cities, different times, and worlds, as we confront the reality of our ever-changing metropoles.” (Charlie Fox, 2017)
InspiralLondon is an ambitious artist-led metropolitan trail, a collective on the ground mapping, creating a new walk trail winding in and out of London. This anti-clockwise spiral walk begins at Kings Cross, unwinding from its centre point six times, to finally end at Gravesend, only to begin again. This unique Metropolitan trail crosses the River Thames at ten locations, using bridges, foot tunnels, a cable car and ferries. The Inspiral Trail is coordinated by InspiralLondon CIC, and was an original idea conceived by counterproductions in 2013 as a partner project of Metropolitan Trails International and Metropolitan Trails Academy.
InspiralLondon facilitates and curates artworks, research and interventions that interrogate the city and its hinterlands, with particular focus on: placemaking, experience culture and emotional capitalism, urban ecology and sustainable futures, community and well-being. Initial on the ground mapping (2015-19) examined ways of thinking of Urban Space as an other environment: the potential shape and direction of walking route/s; how we experience the city; how we encourage artistic – experimental, social & ecological – approaches to, and other ways of being in and intervening in the city. The trail is an invitation for all to explore, rediscover and reconnect with their city; to begin to rethink the urban, the metropolitan and its relation to other/ness/places. Over 5 years – crossing drained marsh, the courses of dried up streams, boggy overgrown riverside, canals, drainage trenches, even under piped rivers, streams and along the artificial canalised New River, returning without fail to press our feet into the muddy foreshore of the Tidal Thames and its major tributaries, we remain awed and inspired by London’s watery geometry.
Now InspiralLondon embarks upon another voyage of discovery, by raft, kayak, in waders and boots or by boat to investigate – Hydrodetours on the fluid ground – something of the Thames Valley Basin’s rich undervalued watery commons, detouring and exploring along and among its watery terrain. In order to understand its complexity and its variety but also to create a new sense of value and wonder within its beautiful biodiversity.
In these times of rapid extinction, climate upheaval and ecological crisis Hydracity takes time to celebrate and share together the extraordinary and unexpected, hidden within the Metropole’s watery veins and shifting flows. We share our stories and activities allowing other public/s to navigate these fluid times, building together walking rafts to the future.
Photo: Charlie Fox