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River Cray

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The River Cray is a tributary of the River Darent in southern England. It rises in Priory Gardens in Orpington in the London Borough of Bromley, where rainwater permeates the chalk bedrock and forms a pond at the boundary between the chalk and impermeable clay. It then flows northwards past the industrial and residential area of St Mary Cray, through St Paul's Cray where there was once a paper mill, through Foots Cray, and enters the parkland of Foots Cray Meadows. Here it flows under the Five Arches bridge (which was built in 1781 as part of the designs for Foots Cray Meadows drawn up by Capability Brown) and past Loring Hall (c.1760), once the home of Lord Castlereagh, who committed suicide there in 1822. It continues northwards through North Cray and Bexley, where there is a restored Gothic cold plunge bath house, built around 1766 as part of Vale Mascal Estate. It is then joined by the River Shuttle and then continues through the parkland of Hall Place, which was built for John Champneys in 1540. It then turns east through Crayford and Barnes Cray before joining the Darent, which flows northwards into the River Thames between Crayford Marshes and Dartford Marshes. The villages through which it flows are collectively known as the Crays.


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