An east London and Essex walking festival has seen intrepid walkers brave the rainy spring weather in Upminster.

Tales of the Fanns - A Walking and Arts Festival kicked off this Saturday (May 22) at Thames Chase Forest Centre, marking the first walk in a series of activities on offer until June 6.

Walker Lesley Robinson explained the “walking and talking” brought people together, with tea and cake on offer at the end.

She said: “It’s about engaging local people to value their locality.

“It’s listening to people’s stories- it's not about big things, rather it’s their memories and what things used to be like when they were children."

Lesley, who has been involved in the festival for around 10 years, said on the first walk someone had opened up the church for them to visit, and on the next walk the group included an expert in bird song.

“It’s not planned, just complete randomness of who will be there.

“You get to meet amazing people you wouldn’t normally meet.”

The keen walker works for Thurrock-based arts company Kinetika, which gathered one hundred stories in preparation of the festival and printed them on flags, to “tell the history and celebrate the people and places of the area”.