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 of Boaters' Update where you'll find out what we unexpectedly had to fix in August, what your fellow boater said about cruising in London and much more besides including news, events and this weekends stoppages.
Welcome to the latest edition. I think we’ve now entered that strange phase of the year where it’s still not cool enough to stow the shorts nor reliably warm, or dry, enough not to have a coat too far from the tiller.
As full time liveaboards will confirm, canals don’t ‘stop’ when the fair-weather crowds thin after the summer. Many leisure boaters also revel in a fresh and frosty winter morning cruise too! Like both of the former, things don’t slow for us either during the colder months, quite the opposite in fact.
We do hope you find the time to come along to one of our Open Days, details below, to see what we’re up to. On the note of things that affect cruising, and in a first for Boaters’ Update, I’ve included an article that looks back at some of the unexpected things that we responded to in August to minimise the effect on cruising.
If there’s a particular topic you’d like to see in a future edition, or a regular feature you think will be useful, then please get in touch. In the meantime, click on the links below to jump to the article of your choice:
Since the last edition you may have heard, or seen, that:
And if you’re wondering what you can enjoy on or by a canal this weekend then you might be interested in:
Of course, there are plenty of other activities and volunteering opportunities around the network so please visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.
Did you know that the oldest motorway in the country is still less than 60 years old? Bear with me. And, how many times have you had to slow to a crawl or completely divert from the M1 because of roadworks? Lots I bet.
The reason for the seemingly abstract introduction is to highlight that even with relatively ‘young’ infrastructure there’s usually something that needs fixing. As a boater you’ll know that most of the waterway network is 200 or so years old so, and from time to time, things will unexpectedly go wrong.
While we do our best with planned preventative maintenance, we aren’t yet equipped with a crystal ball to predict exactly when that tree will fall or when a paddle will be accidently left open.
So, and as suggested by a couple of boaters, I’ve summarised the reasons we had to close navigations in August. For the curious among you, we classify a closure as anything which stops navigation for more than four hours.
Hopefully this will give you some insight:
If you’ve signed up to receive stoppages you’ll notice that we categorise them in to general reasons, such as repair, inspection or vegetation. Of course, when we’re dealing with such old structures it’s not always as straightforward as ‘repair’ so we offer more detail in the body of the stoppage notice. But, in case you were wondering, here’s a handy guide to what we classify as a repair, maintenance, inspection and so on.
If you’ve any thoughts on the above or have a suggestion as to what other information would be handy please do let me know as I’m planning on making this a monthly feature!
From early 2017 our enforcement team will become the boat licence customer support team. This reflects the team’s ongoing focus and share of the time they spend supporting customers to meet the terms of a boat licence to stay on the water.
As Mike Grimes, head of boating, explains: “As part of the evolution of becoming a charity, we’re highlighting the emphasis we’re putting on supporting boaters. That includes improving the ways in which we communicate and interact with boaters as well as being there to help facilitate the support that’s available from external agencies for those in need.
“For the vast majority of customers it’s about being there on the towpath or at the end of a phone to help them keep their licence rather than the minority where enforcement action is the unfortunate last resort.
“The team is always there to talk so if you’re having problems do get in touch.”
As some of you will know, over the summer, we carried out a survey to gauge the level of demand for boaters wanting to visit London’s bustling waterways together with their interest in being able to pre-book a short-stay mooring ahead of their arrival. Thanks to the many (1,400) who took the time to respond.
The survey showed that perceived pressure on mooring space was putting some off visiting London. Of the 27% of respondents who hadn’t visited the capital by boat, 85% said it was because they weren’t certain they’d find a place to moor. There was appetite for an increased range of mooring options, with 59% of all respondents saying they’d consider paying for a reserved mooring.
The results also showed:
Matthew Symonds, from the boating team comments: “We’ve had a great response to the survey and I’m pleased that boaters have got in touch to share their views, both positive and negative, of boating in the capital. It looks like being able to guarantee a mooring spot will give many boaters peace of mind and encourage them to visit. Taking this into account we’re planning to trial pre-bookable short-stay mooring spots at Rembrandt Gardens in Little Venice later in the year. We will be announcing more details soon.
“We’ve also had a lot of feedback on how we can improve boating in London, and I’d like to thank the 923 boaters who shared their thoughts. It’s no surprise to see that boaters want to see more facilities, and we’re doing what we can to find suitable places to put them. Boaters also want to see more mooring spaces and rings and we’ve worked hard to get funding to install rings along 3.5 km of canal over the past two years, creating or improving around 195 mooring spots. We will continue looking for opportunities like this. Also high on the list were requests to reduce overstaying and better enforcement of the rules. We’re going through the comments carefully and they will prove really useful in the development of our wider London mooring strategy, which seeks to meet the needs of boaters and others who enjoy these historic, and increasingly popular, waterways.”
“And, while we’re on the subjects of London and surveys, if you’re currently cruising in the capital please do keep your eye out for an invitation later this month to take part in a survey which aims to give us a better understanding of who’s on London’s boats and what they want out of boating so we, and our partners, can better meet their needs.”
While we work hard to protect the 200+ year old network of canals and rivers – check out our plans for this winter - and keep them in tip-top condition, it’s not always possible (see above!). The list below is 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