Thurrock 100 is an exciting community walking festival, located within reach of the Thames Estuary through the first swathe of countryside outside of East London. The Thurrock 100 campaign combines walking and the arts, drawing on their potential to bring communities together, improve health and wellbeing and connect people to the rich heritage around them to strengthen collective identity.
Thurrock 100 is an annual walking festival comprised of 10 x 10 mile walks, divided into manageable sections to maximise inclusivity and involvement. Along the way, the walks take in the rich natural and built heritage sites that are brought to life by local experts and knowledgable residents to stimulate conversations and new friendships between walkers. Mixing a blend of industrial, historic and natural green spaces, the walks promote a misunderstood post-industrial landscape in an area that has suffered from negative perceptions in the past. Thurrock 100 therefore is aspirational, championing Thurrock's cultural identity in a way that raises local confidence and sense of community. The stimulating walks also underpin the health agenda, actively improving local health and wellbeing through a social campaign that is welcoming and fun.
A key element of the walks is the connection with the arts. Prior to the walking festival, artists work with school children and adults in creative workshops to create a series of flags featuring places and spaces of local significance. Learning about heritage takes place through artistic expression that supports awareness of local cultural identity. The completed flags are carried by volunteers during the walking festival to create a sense of occasion and owned by schools and community groups as mementoes of the festival. The flags are linked to a highly visual finale event, marking the end of each walking festival.
Thurrock 100 takes place just outside of East London on the the north bank of the Thames. This is the first swathe of countryside as you move out of London along the estuary. As such, as the festival grows in the future it has the potential to connect many more to the excitement of walking, by drawing on the international brand of London and the Thames. The project forms one part of much broader Thames Estuary Festival starting this year that will allow this to happen by connecting traditionally overlooked communities throughout the Estuary to the Thames. Thurrock 100 has an exciting, high-profile future ahead of it - championing the role of walking as an engine of positive change. We hope you can join us for the next walk! You might even be asked to carry a flag!