Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
Work for us
We have vacancies across all of our waterways and in the offices, museums and attractions that support them. We're one of the UK's biggest charities and we take pride in everything we do
If you're thinking of getting in touch then please take a moment to look through these pages as we probably have the answer on our website
Planning & design
All you need to know about planning and design on our canals and rivers
Find a winter mooring
Find a cosy section of canal to hunker down in this winter
10 reasons to take up canoeing
It's a great way to get fit and explore our waterways at the same time
Share the Space
Take a look at our common sense guide to sharing the towpath
Find a place to fish
From reservoirs to club-managed canals and river stretches - find your nearest place to fish
Get your free guide
Download your free guide today and start exploring the waterway nature near you
Download your free guides
You've nine free days out guides to choose from - where will you go first?
Find a walk near you
Are you ready to ramble? Find a waterside stroll or a satisfying hike along our beautiful canals and rivers
Take a look at our upcoming events here.
Find your favourite waterway
With over 95 canals, rivers, reservoirs, docks and navigations, find out more about your favourite waterway
Something for everyone
Help us make a difference and have fun along the way. Find your perfect volunteer role today
Join our team
Could you join your local Towpath Taskforce team and help us to keep our canals looking lovely?
Desmond Family Canoe Trail
If you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved with this exciting project, please get in touch
Could you be a volunteer lock keeper?
Find out what's involved with this popular volunteering opportunity
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
How can you adequately describe the subject of a heartfelt crush? Even hindsight still does not allow me to see beyond the glow of disproportionate admiration.
In October 2014 I was invited to a project meeting at a maintenance yard, not the stuff to get most people’s heart racing but it certainly did for me. I first visited Hartshill a week before that. I drove around for quite a while before I found it. I had looked at Google Maps, was let down by my 1994 road atlas and my facial GPS (read nose) needs updating. I was out for a leisurely adventure so I enjoyed the circuitous route and discovered Hartshill Hayes Country which was nearly on my way.
Having stretched my legs in the woods I was ready to reach my destination. Unafraid of being unfashionable, I stopped and asked directions. The local mechanic working on his forecourt gave me the knowledge I needed. It would be easy to miss the gap in the low lying brick walls lining the lane. The familiar hump in the road signalled the waterway beneath, and the iconic swan clearly said turn in here. The narrow entrance belies the surprise beyond.
What a fantastic place. I parked and got out. Single story working buildings, rounded corners of brickwork, crenelated eaves, capped with tiles pierced by chimney stacks, a slatted clock tower with its aspiring point. It was only the first glance, but everyone knows true love can strike like a bolt, sparked by a glance. Workshops, a blacksmith’s forge, sheds, cottages that arch over the water, small wharf and lifting gear, an empty manor house, operational offices and so much more still unseen.
On that first, heart stopping, visit the yard was a little overgrown; the vestiges of summer’s prolific growth. When I returned to Hartshill I found the misplaced vegetation was gone, cleared by the efforts of a voluntary crew. The Yard looked clean and bigger. I had the chance to go inside the buildings. Revelling in the childish delight of exploration, I nosed upstairs and down, in the forge and in the clock’s working chamber. I met the resident workers, Trust staff and tenants, all members of the new regeneration project team.
I’m now looking forward to getting to know the many knowledge people who are clearly as passionate as I am about working in this special place. It’s a national treasure one of the waterways’ gems. It’s a real delight to be volunteering with Audrey, the heritage adviser, on such a fantastic initiative. I can tell this is just the beginning of a life-long love affair.
Lucky Lowe, volunteer heritage adviser
The work carried out by the heritage team is extremely varied, covering all sorts of structures and a wide variety of projects. Not one week is the same and we keep learning all the time, meeting some fascinating people and visiting stunning places along the way. We are hoping that through our blogs we can share some of our passion for the amazing industrial heritage of the inland waterways.