Health, well being and sport
Waterways host a range of recreational and sporting activities where participation can be increased. The Canal & River Trust works closely with partners to grow recreational use of the waterways for a range of benefits to individuals including health and well being as well as sporting activity
There are many formal and informal uses of the canal and river network. Whether you are just interested in a stroll or a triathlon the canals and rivers have something to offer the whole of the community in relation to health and sport.
Riverside paths and canal towpaths are well used for recreation by walkers, cyclists, joggers and sightseers, as well as providing attractive off-road routes for activities such as commuting and dog walking. Canal towpaths are often flat and level, enabling their use by a wide range of people of all ages and abilities to improve their physical fitness through moderate regular exercise
The Canal & River Trust hosts over 60,000 boats on its waterways. Because boat ownership involves a substantial financial commitment, the ability to expand participation in this way is limited. However hire boats can make boating available to the wider population. Community Boat Associations are also performing a valuable service by opening boating to groups who suffer particular disadvantage.
Canoeing involves a much lower initial cost, brings significant health benefits and has a particular appeal for young people. Local canoe clubs supported by national organisations like Canoe England and Canoe Wales, are based along the waterway network and have a good record in widening participation in the sport. As well as informal canoeing, navigable waterways host long distance flat water canoeing, encompassing canoe trails and races. Some of the broader rivers and canals are used for rowing usually though through established clubs.
Recreational angling is the most popular participation sport in the country. The navigable waterway network forms the biggest and most valuable coarse fishing resource in the country. We have programmes in place to encourage further participation, particularly amongst young people, women and people from minority ethnic communities.
- Download our funding bid for Connecting the Dales, focusing on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between Skipton and Gargrave.