7th February, 2014 / 11.00am - 4.00pm
19th May, 2018
A circular walk starting in historic Teynham with Ann Kinzer, PhD student from the Department of Comparative Literature.
The history of walking and wandering in Britain is in many ways closely connected to the agricultural revolution. Land enclosures displaced peasants forcing them to become vagabonds and to aimlessly wander the country side. These vagabonds were usually perceived as criminals. In the 19th century, however, a literary discourse emerged that challenged this perception. In addition, the advancing industrial revolution increased people’s need to fight for access to open spaces.
Tresspassing became a mass movement, causing societies for the protection of footpaths and walking associations to evolve, both of which remain popular to this day. Given this brief synopsis of the history of walking and wandering, what better place could we find to begin our tour than a historic orchard? Teynham is known as the birthplace of the English cherry, as it was here that Henry VIII’s decided to plant his historic 105-acre orchards. While many of these orchards have been built on, we won’t have to walk far, before encountering the first fruit trees in blossom. On our walk, we will delve deep into farming country, passing cherry trees, corn fields, pastures with grazing sheeps and apple orchards.
This walk does not only provide an opportunity to learn more about the history of walking and wandering in Britain and the literature that encouraged it, but also allows us to reflecet on the psychic need and the cultural significance of English footpaths that we nowadays so frequently take for granted. To get some more variety in scenery – and because wandering isn’t about reaching your destination in the most direct manner – we will also take a detour to Conyer Creek, walking along the shore line. Watch out for wrecks of wooden boats! These are remains of a once thriving brick industry that supplied London’s Victorian building boom.