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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
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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.
Debbi in our boating team shares her recent experience of boating through Harecastle Tunnel for the first time.
Being a southern boater, and normally being limited to two week holidays, I’d never had the chance to cruise through Harecastle Tunnel on the Trent & Mersey canal. All I’d had was one fleeting glimpse of the northern portal a few years ago, when I attended a course for work that was held at the Red Bull office. Last September I finally had an opportunity for a longer boating adventure and at last boated through Harecastle on my boat. So, what’s is it actually like?
Low head room had been mentioned to me by a few colleagues so I borrowed a hard hat. I also checked that our life-jackets were in good order. Finally, I’d also checked that my boat was the correct dimensions to fit through the tunnel. It’s not just width that’s important but air draft and profile too. You will also need to ensure that your boat is correctly licensed with valid insurance and a Boat Safety Certificate.
Passage through the tunnel is single direction working as only one of the two Harecastle canal tunnels is in operation. Brindley’s original tunnel, eleven years in the making and completed in 1777, was finally closed in 1904. Over the years mining subsidence led to the gradual lowering of the tunnel roof until it was no longer navigable. Access to Telford’s tunnel, completed in 1827, is controlled by the Trust’s tunnel keeper team, who allow groups of boats to pass through in convoy, before reversing the flow of traffic. You can check tunnel opening times here.
Before you can pass through the tunnel, all the skippers of the boats in the convoy group must attend a safety briefing. It doesn’t take too long, but it is vitally important to know what to do in an emergency, such as a person overboard, breaking down in the middle of the tunnel or a fire, as there have been accidents in the past. Briefing over it was back to our boats and off we went into the dark having tested our horns, tunnel lamps and navigation lights. It’s also a good idea to make sure that your curtains are open, all the interior lights are on and that any solid fuel stoves have been extinguished.
Travelling north it was very strange to go into the dark and then have the tunnel mouth door closed behind us. It was immediately dark and cold and then came the roar of the big ventilation fans that help keep the air in the tunnel fresh. The tunnel is 8778 feet or 2676 metres long. It takes on average about 30 minutes to transit the tunnel. The roof is very low in places and we were glad of the hard hat, it got well and truly scuffed! Don’t forget to look out for the Kidsgrove Boggart or Kit Crewbucket!
To get a flavour of what it’s like inside the tunnel why not watch our short video that we filmed on our return passage southbound. The ventilation fans are really noisy!
You can find out more about boating through tunnels here.
Find out what the Canal & River Trust's boating team have been up to.