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 Black Country Cruising Ring comprises a combination of canals each memorable for different reasons.
Leaving the much-revamped water frontages of Birmingham via the New Main Line and negotiating parts of the elegant Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal and the Trent & Mersey Canal before returning along the Coventry Canal and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, this voyage offers vivid contrasts between heritage and contemporary life.
At the height of the industrial revolution the Black Country and surrounding area was dotted with hundreds of furnaces. Today most of the old heavy industry has gone but the waterway legacy that remains offers the inquisitive traveller a fascinating glimpse into an age long past.
The New Main Line was a modification made by Thomas Telford to the earlier route cut by James Brindley. It was built in Telford’s typically bold style, with twin towpaths and innovative engineering techniques, and shortened the distance between Birmingham and Wolverhampton by several miles.
At Wolverhampton the route falls through 21 locks, the longest flight on the BCN. By the time the bottom is reached the canal has become rural and remains so virtually all along the Staffs & Worcs to Great Haywood. Distinctive Roundhouses were a feature of this canal; the one at Gailey is the last on the Staffs & Worcs to be inhabited. The wide waters at Tixall give the impression of a lake.
The Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley is also largely under-developed; Rugeley and the towers of a power station indicate its former importance in the coal trade. Both the Coventry and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canals can be so tranquil that it is difficult to grasp their former significance and it is only at Minworth Locks that the canal regains its industrial feel. By Salford Junction, where the M6 roars directly overhead, the transformation is complete and the now-urban canal claws its way upwards through a flight of 11 locks at Aston quickly followed by another 13 at Farmer’s Bridge.
Last date edited: 15 March 2016