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
Why we think canals are better with Friends
Become a Friend of the Canal & River Trust today and you’ll open yourself up to new experiences and endless opportunities.
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
Want to know what the Anderton Boat Lift, Blue Bridge in Docklands and Liverpool Docks all have in common? They are all looked after by our mechanical and electrical team, who make sure all of our structures that are either mechanically or electrically operated work smoothly.
There are hundreds of examples of mechanically and electrically operated lifts, bridges and locks on our waterways and we’ve combined modern technology with our historic structures to make them last longer, make them easier for you to use and make sure that as many people as possible can use them while they are on our canals and rivers.
Here are some examples of the different mechanically and electronically operated structures we look after each day.
The Anderton Boat Lift was built in 1875 and connects the Trent & Mersey Canal to the River Weaver. Originally it used a hydraulic counter-balanced system, which was replaced in 1908 by electric operation. However, the lift now works hydraulically again so that boaters and visitors can enjoy the original experience.
There is a wide range of mechanical and electrical equipment used to keep the lift working. These include pumps to keep the well of the lift dry, winches and cables to operate the gates plus a complex hydraulic system.
The whole lift sequence is managed by a programme with switches and sensors and these all need to work correctly in order to keep the lift moving.
When you add in the fact that Anderton Boat Lift is a scheduled ancient monument and we can’t make any changes to components that affect the way the lift looks, it can be a very complex structure to deal with.
At Liverpool Docks our staff maintain and operate a number of mechanical locks, gates and bridges that allow boats to move in and out of the docks. It’s really important that the structures work effectively as when the tide in the River Mersey is low they ensure that water is kept within the docks.
Also when large ships come in from the river, there is only a small tidal opportunity for this to happen so the structures needs to operate correctly to make sure the ship gets in in time.
In addition, the mechanical and electrical team at Liverpool maintain hundreds of lights around the site and ensure that electric points which power moored crafts and attractions are working correctly. In addition they make sure all of the metal handrails are safe and secure to protect the public.
There are a number of moving bridges in and around Docklands including the Blue Bridge on Manchester Road and the Eastern Access Bridge, which is one of the main traffic routes into Canary Wharf. These bridges have to be operated to allow vessels to pass but when you’re in the heart of London it only takes a small problem to lead to a lot of disruption. Maintenance is vital.
Also in Docklands there are three pumps dating for the 1920s, which are used to impound water. When the River Thames is at high tide, the pumps are used to pump water back into Docklands and ensure water levels stay where they need to be.
The three pumps can pump 9000 litres each minute, which would fill an Olympic swimming pool in nine minutes.
Needless to say, there is a system of grilles and a skip to catch all of the debris in the water to stop it damaging the pumps.
It’s not just huge structures that need looking after though. We look after the smaller things too like lighting at locks so that you can see what you’re up to, sluices that operate automatically depending on water levels and some very small swing and lift bridges.
Support our work
We need your help to protect and care for our unique canals and rivers. Join us today
Last date edited: 3 February 2018