GET your walking shoes on and get ready to build up a hearty appetite, as Southend and Canvey Island are on the map this year as part of the Thurrock '100 Recipes' Walking Festival.

Taking place from this Saturday and through the rest of the month, the festival - run by Purfleet based outdoor arts company Kinetika - will encourage walkers to take in the culinary delights of the Essex areas.

The specially curated set of walks are led by volunteers well-versed in the geography and history of the routes. They will offer opportunities to discover and share foods from the rich diversity of peoples from around the world as well as local delicacies.

On Saturday July 7, the festival starts with a walk from Benfleet to Leigh via Hadleigh Country Park and the Castle, taking in the Salvation Army farm and tearooms and Old Leigh with its long established cockle sheds and pubs.

Sunday’s walk is to Shoebury East Beach, which has been the site of many Hindu festivals in recent years. A delicious buffet picnic has been promised to be laid on, inspired by Indian traditional ethnic recipes specially made by Indian communities and organised by The Hindu Association, along with Bollywood music to enjoy at the seashore.

On Monday July 10, ice cream will be the order of the day as the walk takes in Southend Pier, the Golden Mile and Southend’s famous Rossi and Tomassi families.

You'll have just enough time for a rest, before the Canvey Island Pub Grub walk takes place, on Thursday July 12.

The Thurrock 100 Walking Festival is now in its fourth year.

Over the past three years, the Thurrock 100 has mapped and explored 31 local walks, made 110 silk flags, run a dance programme, published a book of 100 local stories and engaged thousands of people. The T100 Recipe walks are specially planned and led by volunteers well-versed in the geography and history of the routes.

T100 Recipes is the first phase of Kinetika’s new project Kitchen Table, that, over two years, aims to explore the stories of the diverse communities from around the world who have settled along the lower Thames Estuary.

A Kinetika spokesman said: "Encompassing walking, talking and eating, Kitchen Table will encourage conversations over food and culture to help develop a better understanding of common histories, and unique traditions.

"The walk on Saturday July 21 coincides with an Open Day at the Port of Tilbury. As part of the day, Chilean arts organisation Teatro Container, on their UK Premier tour, will be cooking a community feast in La Cocina Publica, the Public Kitchen. Teatro Container will work in the kitchen with community groups prior to the event to devise a menu, drawing together local tastes and recipes. The mobile kitchen is built inside a shipping container: it offers a place to tell stories, share moments and memories and collectively discover, rediscover and appreciate food."

Kinetika is an internationally renowned company with a 20-year track record of combining design with community projects to produce spectacular outdoor events that engage diverse audiences wherever they work.

Founded by artist Ali Pretty in 1997, and inspired by her training in carnival arts in Trinidad and India, Kinetika now has an unrivalled reputation for working with local communities on projects that change the way people feel about where they live.

From local community events in shopping centres, ceremonial boulevards and local high streets, to the Great Wall of China and the heart of Kolkata, the charitable arm, Kinetika People, is known for its high quality community engagement work, running participatory programmes, workshops and artist training schemes, which aim to nurture new artistic talent and engage communities, raising aspirations and building a sense of place.

Kinetika’s creative director is artist and walker Ali Pretty.

She said: “It is through Thurrock 100 that we have made friends who have generously shared their local knowledge and given their time to make us welcome and enabled us to create great projects. Now we’re extending our network along the estuary and with such a committed group of volunteers, we have a real opportunity to celebrate the stories of so many diverse communities who have for centuries contributed to the rich seam of humanity that works so hard to keep London going.

"Now London is flowing East and we hope that this project demonstrates that we will welcome everyone to join us at the Kitchen Table."

All the walks are free, but you must book your place, via


7 July 10am – Benfleet to Leigh, tea, cake and cockles!

Grading: Moderate to difficult

Distance: 5.25 miles

Access: This walk is not accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. This walk is initially road then enters Benfleet Downs with managed footpaths of sand, stone and gravel. There are some hill climbs and uneven surfaces.

Registration: 9.45am

Walk starts: 10am

Meet: Benfleet Station – High Street Exit, South Benfleet, Benfleet SS7 1NF

Stop for tea, cake and a talk at Salvation Army Tea Rooms: 11.45 am -1pm.

Walk ends: 2 pm.

Lunch ends: 3.30 pm.

Duration: 4 hours plus cockles at Leigh

Distance: 5.25 miles

Walk Leaders: Sally Chinea and Hazel Huber

Sunday 8 July 10am – 3pm

Southend Pier to East Beach at Shoeburyness – Bollywood music and food!

Grading: Easy to Moderate

Registration: 9.45am

Walk starts: 10am

Meet: Southend Pier Entrance

Walk ends: 1pm. Shoeburyness East Beach

Indian Picnic: 1pm – 3pm.

Duration: 5 hours including the picnic

Distance: 5.5 miles

Walk Leaders: Nina Chavda and Manji Solanki

This is a delightful walk starting at Southend Pier entrance and heading to Southchurch Park for a tea break, up to the Eastern Esplanade, through Gunners Car Park and through fields to Shoeburyness East Beach. The walk will be followed by a delicious buffet picnic inspired by mouth-watering traditional Indian ethnic recipes, specially cooked by local Indian communities for this event. Feel free to bring your own food if you prefer, there is no charge to try the Indian delicacies.

10 July – Ice cream walk – Southend Pier

Grading: Easy

Distance: Approx 2 miles - duration 1.5 hours

Access: This walk is accessible. There are lifts and ramps available at all inclines.

Registration: 4.15 p.m

Walk starts: 4.30 p.m

Meet: Southend Central Station

Walk ends: 6pm. at the Royal Pavilion at the end of Southend Pier.

Walk leaders: Sally Chinea and Hazel Huber

From Southend Central Station you'll head to Tomassi’s café and restaurant and meet a member of the of Southend’s oldest family-owned business.

After an optional ice-cream, at a specially reduced price, the walk continues down the paved slope to the Observation Tower to take in the views of the golden mile.

At the end of the world’s longest pleasure pier, you'll head to the Royal Pavilion and meet Mrs Pat Volante nee Rossi, who will share some stories of the Rossi ice-cream family and the book she has written. Please note that dogs are not allowed on Southend Pier and that pier charges will apply.

12 July – Canvey Island – Pub Grub!

Grading: Easy

Distance: Approx 5 miles - duration: 5 hours

Access: This walk is almost all level but with some steps and very short ascents. Partly pavements and mixture of tarmac and grass paths. There are some narrow sections on grass and narrow paths.

Registration: 10.15 am

Walk starts: 10.30 am

Meet: Benfleet Train Station

Oysterfleet Hotel: 12.30pm - 1.30pm

Heritage Centre: 2.30pm – 3pm

Walk ends: 3.30 pm. Dutch Cottage Bus Stop, Canvey Road

Duration: 5 hours

Distance: Approximately 5 miles

Grading: Easy

Walk Leader: Colin Saunders

The walk will start with an opportunity to buy a slice of traditional Tottenham cake, then follow part of the creek-side sea wall protecting Canvey Island. This leads to the lunch stop at the Dutch-style Oysterfleet Hotel, where pub grub and real ales are available to buy inside or on a lakeside terrace. If you prefer to bring your own picnic, there is a suitable spot nearby.

After lunch, you will walk beside the lake to a delightful former church, now a heritage centre, where Canvey memorabilia and traditional handicrafts are on display. The walk finishes by a quaint 17th century Dutch cottage.

More walks (visit for more details).

July 14 - 12.30pm – Intu Lakeside to Davy Down with noodles!

Grading: Easy

Distance: Approximately 5 miles

Access: Please note this route is not accessible for wheelchairs or pushchairs.

15 July 11am – Purfleet Village to Rainham Marshes with picnic

Grading: Easy

Distance: 1.7 miles

Access: This walk is accessible, the route is on pavement or footpaths.

15 July 11am – Rainham Hall to Rainham Marshes with picnic

Grading: Moderate

Distance: 4.7 miles

Access: Please note this route is not accessible for wheelchairs or pushchairs.

July 16 - 4pm Dartford Delicacies!

Grading: Easy

Distance: Approx 1.2 miles

Access: The walk is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

17 July 6pm - Orsett Fen fields walk

Grading: Difficult – the field crossings require a good level of physical fitness.

Distance: 5 miles

Access: This walk is not accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The walk crosses arable fields, in some of which the farmer has not left a clear line for the right of way; even where there is a clear line, the going is often rough under foot.

18 July 11am – Gravesend tour – English & World Food

Grading: Easy

Distance: Approx 2.5 miles

Access: This walk is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The route sticks to the main footpaths in and around the town centre.

19 July 5.30pm – Grays town – World Taste Trail

Grading: Easy

Distance: Approx 0.5 miles

Access: This walk is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The route sticks to the main footpaths in and around the town centre.

20 July 6pm – East Tilbury walk with fish and chips!

Grading: Moderate

Distance: Approx 3.5 miles

Access: This walk is not accessible for pushchairs or wheelchairs.

21 July 10.30am– Tilbury Station to Tilbury Port with puppet

Grading: Easy

Distance: Approx 2.25 miles

Access: This walk is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

21 July 1.30pm Teatro Container and Community Feast at the port

Grading: none – there is no walking