Big crowds come out to enjoy the river at this year’s Tidefest
In glorious sunshine the tidal Thames was at its stunning best this Sunday for the fifth Tidefest held at Strand-on-the-Green in Chiswick and other locations along the Thames Tideway including Richmond, Twickenham, Brentford, Barnes and Deptford.
Local MPs Ruth Cadbury and Rupa Huq joined Hounslow Council Leader Steve Curran and Mayor Samia Chaudhary at the annual celebration of all the River Thames has to offer. Over two thousand people visited the stalls and took part of the host of activities on offer. There were great activities for all the family including foreshore and photographic walks, angling competition, paddle-boarding, river dipping, kayaking, London Wildlife Trust’s Dragonfly Detectives, nature reserve visits, stalls and displays, circus workshop, bouncy castle, children’s games, live fish tanks, local artists, food, music and generous discounts off admissions to the London Museum of Water and Steam. A new event this year is a special guided tour of Eel Pie Island Museum in Twickenham – the place which helped launch the careers of Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones and many others in the 1960s
There was lots on offer for boating enthusiasts including:
- Boat trips around the Thames Tideway islands from Kew Pier on the historic Thames launch the Windrush
- Paddleboarding – 50 minute supervised sessions by Active 360 at Kew Bridge from 9.30am plus a 3 hr Eco tour and lesson to Chiswick Island and back.
- Tour and exhibition on Thames Boatbuilding at the Lot’s Ait boatyard in Brentford – venue for the filming of the African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn
- Generous discounts for rowing boat hire at Richmond Bridge with a Tidefest voucher
- Taster sessions for those new to kayaking organised from the Boating Arch at Kew Bridge by Edge Paddling.
Tidefest aims to highlight the recreational importance of the Thames to Londoners and to encourage people to ‘enjoy the river’. It is part of the month long Totally Thames Festival and is sponsored by Thames Water, Fullers and Tideway, the company delivering the new Thames Tideway Tunnel to clean up the river.
Thames Action on Plastics
This year’s Tidefest included a programme to show the damage single use plastic is doing to our great and historic river with:
- A Paddle and Pick with local paddleboarders clearing plastic waste from river trees
- A Thames Action on Plastics stall in Kew Bridge Piazza promoting In The Drink – a scheme to encourage pubs to switch from single use plastic cups
- Talks by Carolyn Newton and Carlos De Souza who created a paddleboard made from plastic bottles and went off to complete 12 marathons in 12 countries to draw attention to marine plastic pollution
- An opportunity to meet Dhruv Boruah and his amazing bicycle – a man on a mission to reduce single use plastic and the damage it causes to marine life. in 2017 he pedalled his floating water-bike, with a bamboo frame from the source of the Thames to Teddington.
- A special visit from ‘Slurper the plastic straw monster’ who is part of the campaign by the Marine Conservation Society.
TideFest organiser, Martin Salter from the Angling Trust, said:
“We were blessed with fabulous weather and big crowds for this year’s TideFest. It was good to see so many people enjoying the river and taking an interest in the fish and wildlife that live there. Once again we caught baby sea bass and flounder in the seine nets by Kew Bridge which shows what an important nursery area the Thames Estuary has become. We had a great reaction to the work that many of the Tidefest groups are doing to highlight the menace of plastic pollution and once again we are grateful for the excellent support we received from our local MPs, from our sponsors – Thames Water and Fullers and from and Hounslow Council.
Tidefest is all about helping Londoners to ‘reconnect with their river’ and that’s certainly what happened on Sunday.”