Nature Walk: Chalk Streaming - Rivers Cray, Darent and Thames
  • Bexley Station, Bexley
    DA5 1AQ
  • Saturday 5th June 11:00am until 2:30pm
This spring we invite you to walk the waterways of England, navigating their gentle wildness alongside Sam Lee and special guest ecological pioneers. Leave your gadgets behind and spend a day chalk streaming together.

Little-known but quietly magnificent chalk streams are one of the UK’s natural wonders and ecological miracles. Despite all the environmental mistreatment they receive, they continue to bubble up some of the finest waters in the land, harbouring communities of life within and humans alongside. Their life-giving properties have shaped our nation, inspired artists to create and conquerors to colonise.

As we walk we will take several moments en route to stop and explore the river together. We will share knowledge, songs, histories, and return to the river the love that she has shown us humans over our millennia spent by her side.

Running gin-clear through Southern England’s downlands, weaving across meadows, billowing with watercress, water-buttercup, wild trout and salmon, are England’s ecological jewels in the crown. Of the mere 210 chalk streams in the world, 161 of them well up from aquifers deep within the white cretaceous bedrock of England.

This island is historically the custodian of the cleanest, most mineral-rich, species-abundant and aquatically profound of landscape features on Earth. Beloved of fisherman, painters, pastoralists and poets, chalk streams are woven deep into the ancient lore of Britain as a land of abundance and healing. They are our Lourdes, our Ganges and our Amazon in miniature, crystalline and very, very cold. With names like Wissey, Itchen, Test, Chess, Linnet, Kennet, Mimram and Gadder they weave watery poem-paths and whisper histories of the tribes and kingdoms who depended upon their abundant waters. From days of high spiritual esteem to modern times of being drained out of, drained into, managed, covered, slurried and sullied, these little wonders call for a reawakening to their gentle majesty. They demand us to redeem them back to their sovereign glory and arterial importance in the health of our land.

Over the course of spring 2021, we will be seeking out six of the many chalk streams that lie within a stone’s throw of the M25. We invite you to meander for a day side-by-side with each river to learn her songs, witness her beauty and bring our gifts of appreciation to her ill-worn banks, body and bed.

Accompanied by folk singer Sam Lee and a special guest ‘ecological pioneer’, each uniquely-created walk leads our company to meet the river and tune deeply into the water’s resonance and hidden depths. Each walk will meet and end at adjacent train stations and chart about 3 to 5 miles together.

Special guest for this Nature Walk is Dr Amy-Jane Beer.

Dr Amy-Jane Beer is a biologist, nature writer and campaigner. She is the author of over 30 books on natural history, a Country Diarist for The Guardian, columnist for British Wildlife and regular contributor to BBC Wildlife and Countryfile magazines, among others. Her forthcoming books are ‘A Tree A Day’, and ‘The Flow: A Return to the River’, the result of many years spent by, on, in and under the fresh running waters of Britain.

Social Interaction
* thebestof cannot be held responsible for any changes, amends or cancellations of an event
Event Categories