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.
When you think of the canal and boats it’s natural to think of roses and castles, the traditional decorations from the days of working boats, carrying cargos around the country. These days you are as likely to see boats in bloom with real roses as much as painted roses.
Cargo carrying is pretty much long gone from our network although the traditions of brightly painted boats live on with roses and castles. You can still see many a carefully restored historic boat decorated in the old way, especially at boat festivals.
It’s believed that traditional boat painting was a mix of traditions from carting, farming and seafaring. Along with those traditions came many seafaring superstitions including that real flowers are unlucky to have on a ship. Real flowers on a boat were only used for funeral wreaths and this is still a widely-held view in some circles. But maybe this superstition should be considered outdated? After all there are many superstitions connected to boats that we might consider rather odd now, like avoiding flat-footed and red haired people before starting a journey and punching someone hard on the nose if they wish you good luck!
Times change and today’s canal boats are a diverse mix, there’s leisure boats, floating homes, roving traders, holiday hires, day boats, hotel boats and more! Many of these boats will be decorated with real flowers as many of us boaters can’t bear to be without a bit of floating garden to care for. Hopefully the green fingered amongst us have seen the Boats in Bloom competition and are planning to join in.
Personally I don’t generally have much in the way of actual pots on my narrowboat but I do go a bit crazy with flowers and hanging baskets on the mooring during the summer … unless of course it's time to go boating. When cruising I like to take a few of my most favourite plants, from handy herbs and salads for the kitchen, to delightfully perfumed Night Scented Stocks, Sweet Williams and dwarf Sweet Peas. To hell with traditions, I want my flowers afloat to be real!
Boats in bloom
Spring has sprung and summer's on its way - find out more about Boats in Bloom 2017
Find out what the Canal & River Trust's boating team have been up to.