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.
Welcome to the latest edition where you'll find some fascinating canal facts along with head of boating, Mike Grimes, monthly column and some handy advice on how to keep your boat secure.
I start this edition by unashamedly preaching to the converted. As mentioned in the last edition we work with Drifters Waterways Holidays to, once a year, run Open Days around the country. It gives those considering a waterway holiday the chance to get out on the cut for free to see if it’s for them. Of course, most readers need no such enticement!
I am very pleased to report that this year over 3,000 people took the opportunity to go cruising – three times as many as did last year. And with Drifters reporting a 14% increase in bookings last year it seems that more and more people are getting the boating bug.
I don’t think the rising popularity of boating can be put down to just one thing but inspirational TV series such as Great Canal Journeys certainly help. In fact, that gives me a handy segue into the first article of this edition – it’s a review, of sorts, of the book that accompanies the first series of Barging Round Britain.
If you’re quick, you can read it and the rest of this edition before the second series starts tonight on ITV at 8pm.
Elsewhere in this edition you’ll find:
If there’s something you’d like to share with the boating community via this update then please drop me a line.
Since the last edition you may have heard, or seen, that:
Before the next edition is published you might like to know that:
Of course, there are plenty of other activities around the network so please visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.
As mentioned in the introduction, tonight sees the start of the second series of John Sergeant’s ‘Barging Round Britain’ on ITV. The first series, broadcast last year, now has an accompanying book which I’ve just finished reading.
I don’t, by any stretch of the imagination, consider myself to be an expert on the history of canals. This is partly why I learnt, and enjoyed, this book so much – the detailed accounts of the cruises in the first series are peppered with historical commentary. In turn, the description of each cruise is punctuated with some of the more notable stories and people that bring colour to the canals and rivers mentioned.
Even if you’re not, by nature, someone drawn to history then your interest in boating means you’ll probably still enjoy reading about things such as:
The above nuggets are just the tip of the iceberg. The book brings the varied, sometimes frenetic, history alive. Talking of which, if you’ve not yet planned out your May Bank Holiday weekends there’re two great opportunities to get some involved in some first-hand history.
First up, from 30 April to 2 May there’s the Black Country Living Museum historic tug boat gathering. There’ll be a celebration of these boats and the legacy of the canal network with a weekend of hands-on crafts, activities and fascinating talks.
Then, at the end of next month, from 28 to 30 May, you’ll be able to meet one of those mentioned above, James Brindley, at the UK’s largest inland waterway festival, Crick Boat Show.
It’s the 300th anniversary of his birth and there’ll be a costumed interpreter who’ll recount some of his most famous stories, such as his use of a Cheshire cheese to demonstrate to a Parliamentary committee how the Barton Aqueduct might be built!
It’s that time again – each month Mike Grimes, head of boating, picks up his pen (well, taps on his keyboard) to share his thoughts with us.
‘If you’re reading this edition on the day it was published (22 Apr) then there’s only 36 days until the Crick Boat Show. To some this may seem a while away but, to me, it’s now just round the corner. For a pastime, lifestyle or occupation that encapsulates escaping the rat race, time flies in the world of boating!
‘The reason I mention Crick is because I’ve also had the pleasure of reading the book featured in the first article, it’s great, and it made me think of a new event, book readings, at this year’s show.
‘It’s a time-worn adage that the best way to learn is to get hands-on and just go do it. In general, I agree. The difference with boating is that there’re just so many aspects to it. For starters, you have the practical aspects such as navigating and mooring up – for this you can get expert tuition such as the boat handling sessions at the show.
‘What you wouldn’t expert though, just as you wouldn’t from a regular driving instructor, is a detailed biography of one of the main protagonists of canals while taking your lesson. For that you need historical experts such as Christine Richardson who’ll be reading from her book on Brindley at the show.
‘What about modern day life afloat? You wouldn’t assume that your instructor or a historical expert would be able to evocatively describe life, and its many quirks, afloat. For this particular need there’ll be Helen Babbs reading from her book ‘Adrift: A Secret Life of London's Waterways’.
‘Far from being just a parade ground for shiny, ultra-modern, boats (although they’ll definitely be there!) Crick is one of the few places, if not the only, to give you a 360 degree view of boating. My team and I will be there too so do pop over for a chat.’
Let’s be glass-half-full and assume that we’ve discarded the shackles of winter and early spring and are now well on our way into a long and languid summer. Please forgive the dreamy prose but it does seem a long time since the last one!
In any case, the weather will undoubtedly be warmer which will attract more people to the towpath. As things start to get busier, Mark Spearman, managing director of The Fit Out Pontoon Ltd, has some handy advice on how you can keep your boat, and gear, secure:
In an emergency please call 999, otherwise please call 101 (the national police non-emergency number).
This is a new section of Boaters’ Update which I hope you’ll find useful. As you’ll probably know I publish a new edition every fortnight. While it’d be great if I could confidently tell you every piece of work that will affect cruising over the next fortnight, unfortunately, as we all know, life loves throwing those curve balls!
What is possible though is to list what we already know will affect cruising over the coming weekend. This list highlights those instances where, for one reason or another, cruising won’t be possible.
When any restrictions to navigation happen we get them up on to our website as soon as we can – always best to have a scan before you set off for a cruise.
Think of this blog as your one-stop shop for up-to-date boating news. It's packed full of useful information about boating on canals and rivers as well important safety announcements and upcoming events.
Sign up to receive the Boaters' Update by email