We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

The Desmond Family Canoe Trail

We're going to work with nearly 2,000 young people from some of England's most deprived communities to create the country's first ever coast to coast canoe trail.

The route

Desmond Family Canoe Trail routeWe'll be updating these pages with information on the progress and activity at each of our hub locations as the project moves forwards.

The trail, the longest of its kind in the UK, will stretch for 162 miles connecting Liverpool to Goole along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and Aire & Calder Navigation. Travelling through Wigan, Blackburn, Burnley, Leeds and Skipton it will take the average paddler between 7 - 10 days to complete.

Action squads

Over the five years it will take to build, we're going to recruit nearly 2,000 16-25 year-old volunteers to help us out.

The volunteers will help us to design the trail and then organise and run a year-round programme of activities for their community. They'll also improve the environment along the trail, planting new community gardens and habitats.

In the face of 21% youth unemployment across the country, this project will give young volunteers the experience they need to find employment in the future.

Desmond Family Canoe Trail Impact Reports

Read our impact reports here: 
2015 Impact Report
2016 Impact Report 

Thank you

The project is being developed thanks to a generous £1.3 million donation from The Desmond Foundation and also has the support of British Canoeing and Canoe England.


"I've put my hands to good use, it's been amazing!" Volunteer