We're the charity who look after and bring to life 2,000 miles of waterways, because we believe that life is better by water.
Our research shows that spending time by water, whether it be your lunchbreak, daily commute or just a weekend stroll, really can make us feel happier and healthier.
With ever increasing rates of obesity, stress and declining mental health in the UK, we are uniquely placed to make a significant contribution to improving the wellbeing of millions of people. Our canals and rivers run through some of the most heavily populated communities in England and Wales, providing accessible green and blue space where it’s needed the most.
That’s why, here at the Trust, we're working with volunteers and communities across England and Wales to transform canals and rivers into spaces where local people want to spend time and feel better. We know this will bring wellbeing opportunities to millions.
Our work involves not only looking after our waterways, but promoting them widely to the eight million plus people who have waterways on their doorstep so that many more people benefit from our free, accessible and local source of wellbeing.
Strategy, engagement and insight director, Heather Clarke, talks about how we are providing wellbeing on your doorstep and making life better by water in her five-minute film.
Canals and rivers are more than a place for a stroll. For hundreds of years they've helped us to thrive. In the past they transported vital goods and busy people around a booming Britain. Today, they inspire us in a different way.
Our story as a charity is rooted in the history of the waterways themselves. The Trust was launched in 2012, taking over the guardianship of British Waterways’ canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks in England and Wales - and heralding the next chapter in the renaissance of the waterways.
Canals were built at the height of the industrial revolution, the life-blood of cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. When freight declined, the canals too fell into disrepair. Thankfully, our waterways today have risen, phoenix-like, to become treasured local gems - places where people can relax, re-connect, experience 200 years of history and spot the wildlife that calls them home.
We safeguard the waterways now and for the future, and in so doing we help make life better for millions of people across England and Wales.