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.
The introduction of locks in the 10th century made it possible for boats to climb the highest hills and mountains. In England and Wales our waterways are now home to many different types of lock. Next time you're out and about see how many different types you can spot.
Pound locks came to Europe in the 14th century and these are the locks that you'll see up and down our canal and river network.
Over time many different types of lock have been created to accommodate the challenging British landscape. These are the locks you're most likely to see on your travels.
Single locks consist of one lock gate and are the most straightforward to use. Not only is it the quickest and simplest way to move the boat from one height to another but it’s also the most economical use of water.
Double the width of a single or narrow lock allowing two narrowboats to go through together, or one wide boat.
To increase speed and avoid delays, lock flights were often doubled by building them side by side. This type of lock saves water as more than one boat can go through at any one time.
Originally used as a way to control the flow between different canal company's water.
The stop lock worked to completely break the flow of water and was a way to prevent one canal taking large amounts of water from another canal. The majority of all canals are managed by the Trust now and people can freely travel from one canal to another. Most stop locks such as Worcester Bar (pictured) have been removed.
Mimicking the blade of a guillotine, this lock gate is raised and lowered letting those on the canal through, (safely of course). The vertical gates of a guillotine lock take up less space as it is short and doesn’t need to swing open and shut. They are not very common on our waterways, with only a handful of them left - you would find more on rivers.
Significant restoration was carried out on the King's Norton Guillotine lock in 2012. It's now designated as a scheduled ancient monument, which gives it the same statutory protection as Stonehenge.
Probably one of the most impressive engineering feats on the canal. Created for steep gradients, staircase locks comprise of numerous locks in a row and appear like stairs in the landscape. Staircases don’t have pounds in between each gate; the top gate of one lock will also be the bottom gate of lock above.
Flights, however, will normally contain pounds of water in between each gate. Flights can also contain staircases; Foxton Locks, for example consists of two adjacent five-chamber staircases.
The picture here shows the Caen Hill Flight on the Kennet & Avon Canal of 16 locks. Often when the angle of the hill is so steep, side ponds are used to replenish the water in each lock after use.
Take a boat trip
If you're planning on taking a boat trip or holiday this year then take a look at our handy guide
Last date edited: 11 May 2017