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.
This beautiful Somerset canal might be cut off from the rest of the system, but its well-maintained towpath and fascinating lock structures make for idyllic walking and peaceful boating.
Provide visitor information for Taunton and the surrounding area
Lock 7 Firepool in Taunton to Lock 6 Higher Maunsell
Bridgwater & Taunton Canal
Lock 6 Higher Maunsell to Lock 2 Newtown (entrance to Bridgwater Docks)
While the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal connects the two towns of Bridgwater and Taunton, the majority of the canal is rural, making it a wonderful spot for nature enthusiasts.
One of the canal's highlights is the unique Somerset Space Walk. A scale model of the sun can be found at Maunsel Lock, with planets set along the towpath for six miles in both directions, demonstrating the scale of the solar system. Maunsel Lock is also home to a canal centre offering boat trips, refreshments and information on the local area including walking routes.
Find stoppages, restrictions and other navigational advice for this waterway
Maunsel Lock was once busy with boats plying their trade to and from Bridgwater Docks. Today it is a great place to start exploring the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal - and to find some pieces of living history!
Find other places to visit on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal
The Bridgwater & Taunton Canal skirts its way in splendid isolation around the base of the Quantock Hills for a little over 14 miles. Its tranquil seclusion belies the fact that it is one of very few sections to be built in a grandiose, but ultimately doomed, plan to link the Bristol and English Channels.
Nevertheless, the canal slotted neatly into Somerset's evolving, self-contained network of navigable waterways: the river Parrett and its extensions, the Ivelchester & Langport Navigation and the Westport Canal; the Chard Canal, which had four inclines; and the Grand Western Canal, which had one incline and seven lifts (the remains of the one at Nynehead are well worth visiting). Of these, only the eleven miles of the Grand Western from Tiverton to Lowdswell is still navigable, managed by Devon County Council.
Opened in 1827, the B&T met the River Parrett at Huntworth and in 1841 it was extended round the town of Bridgwater to new docks below the town bridge. Its principal cargoes were coal and iron from across the channel in South Wales, with agricultural goods filling the boats on their return journeys.
The Bristol & Exeter Railway bought the canal in 1866 and constructed a branch to the docks.
By the turn of the 20th Century, commercial carrying on this rural waterway had all but ceased and the canal found a new role as a water supply. Access to the fiercely tidal Parrett was curtailed and during World War II swing bridges were secured in position for security purposes - so although the line contained water, it was not navigable by anything more than a canoe or dinghy.
The combined efforts of British Waterways, local enthusiasts, district councils and Somerset County Council achieved restoration of the Bridgwater & Taunton which reopened in 1994. The area aorund Bridgwater Docks has been transformed from industrial decay to desirable residential. However, although the connection to the Parrett had been restored, it is currently closed in order to keep silt out of the canal at high tides.
The Kennet & Avon waterways
Find out what we're up to on the Kennet & Avon waterways