About us

In an increasingly fast-paced and crowded world, our historic canals and rivers provide a local haven for people and nature. We’re the charity entrusted with the care of 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales.

Just a few steps away from our everyday lives, waterways give us a much-needed space where we can escape. Next to our canals and rivers we can relax and reconnect with ourselves, our environment and the people who matter to us.

Taking photos by the canalThanks to our waterways millions of children have the chance to experience local wildlife - even to see a kingfisher or an otter close up. Those struggling with the pressures of day-today life have somewhere to rejuvenate themselves. And many of us have a place on our doorstep where we can simply stretch our legs and soak up 200 years of history. Our waterway network is a national treasure. It makes people’s lives better. We’re here to ensure that it is protected forever.

We’re going to inspire as many people as possible to connect with our canals and rivers, enjoy quality time and make lasting memories.

Sense of community

The canals and rivers that we look after offer an authentic, unfenced, ‘no turnstiles’ opportunity to interact with history and nature first-hand. It’s a very big job looking after them.

ColinOn top of maintaining 2,000 miles of canals and rivers, which are often over 200 years old, we are responsible for an enormous network of bridges, embankments, towpaths, aqueducts, docks and reservoirs alongside everything else that makes up our wonderful waterways. By keeping our waterways alive we can ensure that visitors will always enjoy the boats, wildlife and sense of community that they create.

From improving towpaths for cyclists and encouraging biodiversity by creating new wildlife habitats to maintaining our locks, bridges and aqueducts, we are constantly working to make our canals and rivers the very best they can be.

How to get involved

We would love many more people to become involved with our work. There are lots of rewarding opportunities across England and Wales on our volunteering pages.

There are also ways to help out financially, from taking part in sponsored events to becoming a Friend. Please look at our fundraising pages and discover more about the different ways you can support us and help others to enjoy a better life.


Canals in the modern era

View the timeline of our canals over the past century 

Keep our canals and rivers flowing

As a charity we need your help to protect and enhance our cherished canals and rivers. Find out how you can get involved, donate to us or volunteer

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