The bridges at Walton and Dartford stand a bit like bookends on the River Thames. Each is in a borough just outside the Greater London administrative area. Dartford about 17 miles from central London – with the Dartford Crossing is a part of the M25; but Walton Bridge is within the M25. Walton is about 14 miles from central London.
Both places – whilst having some expensive middle-class areas are largely working class towns. Both bridges are modern: Walton was opened in 2013 – though not fully complete until the following year and the Dartford Crossing in 1998.
With Walton Bridge, I have also taken some photos of Walton Town centre – which has been extensively rebuilt in recent years. I did not do this at Dartford because having set off in the direction of the bridge it is rather a long walk back to the town centre.
With Walton, I have a few photos of the riverside, including Walton Marina – not the largest Marina at Walton – the Shepperton Marina on the other side of the river is much larger.
Walton Bridge was a old crock of a bridge for many years. The present very graceful bridge was built by Surrey County Council – Walton Bridge on time and on budget and is undoubtedly a great success.
The first of my pictures for the Dartford crossing is of Dartford Creek – on the Dartford Salt Marshes. I set off walking over the salt marshes to get to the Thames riverside with the intention of then walking along the Thames Path to the Dartford Bridge. Two of my photos show the raised path (about 15 feet high) through the marshes and one shows the reeds of the marshes. I eventually realised that that the walk to the bridge must be about six or seven miles and then the same distance back – because the bridge approach road is part of the M25 so I could not return to Dartford by the road. After quite a good long walk and lots of telephoto shots of the bridge – one of which clearly shows the dockside cranes at Tilbury Docks, I decided to return to Dartford and try and find another way.
This I did by returning another day to Greenhithe Station – two stops beyond Dartford. Greenhithe is the station you might go to if you were visiting the Bluewater Shopping Centre – a short bus ride from Greenhithe Station. This is then a short walk onto the Thames Path – on the downstream side of the bridge – where I was able to take a number of close shots of the it.
The contrast is huge between the pleasure boats of Walton Marina and the ocean going oil tankers going in to Purfleet at the Dartford Bridge. The river at Walton looks like an English river; the river at Dartford looks half like the sea.
Perhaps these two bookends keep London holding together – well maybe they do with the Thames Barrier somewhere in the middle.