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.
Bram Stoker has a lot to answer for! Bats have suffered a lot of bad press thanks to their fictitious association with vampires and witchcraft. In fact, British bats are entirely harmless and their insect diet makes them more friend than foe of human creepy-crawly haters.
If bats flew during the day everyone would know how abundant they are along our canals. These night time visitors to the waterways are major consumers of flying insects – a fact that should be music to the ears of boaters!
18 different kinds of bat can be found in Britain, the most common being the tiny pipistrelle, which weighs less than a 2 pence coin.
Daubenton’s bats, also known as the 'water bat', are common to the waterways. They use the canal and river network extensively for foraging and getting around safely – for bats the canals are a cross between Tesco and the M1.
In the days when Britain was covered in trees, bats often roosted in hollowed-out tree trunks or caves. However, now that so much deforestation has taken place, bats have been forced to seek alternative roosts.
Many of our 200-year-old tunnels, bridges, buildings and aqueducts are home to bats. This means we have to take care when working with any of our heritage structures or trees, as bats, which are protected by law, may be present.
The waterways provide an incredibly important natural passage for the movement of bats, bringing the countryside into the heart of our towns and cities, as well as some of our intensively farmed landscapes. These corridors bypass the perils of our roads, providing vital links in an increasingly fragmented countryside.
Bats can be spotted around dusk as they venture out to hunt their insect prey. They use a highly sophisticated form of radar (or high-frequency squeak) which bounces off objects back to the bat. This tells it the size, location, velocity and even texture of whatever is in its path.
Bats are less likely to be seen during the winter months, when they hibernate in cool and humid shelters. During this time the bat's body system slows down and its heart rate drops. It is important not to disturb any bats during hibernation - the act of waking will use up vital fat reserves, which are needed to sustain the bat until spring.
Appearance: Bats often display characteristics peculiar to their species, for example the long-eared bat has unusually lengthy ears. In Britain, the most common bats have a small body, short legs, fairly narrow wings and a short tail. Colours vary from colony to colony, but ears and muzzle are dark and body hair a shade between orange-brown and grey-brown
Size: Again, this is dependent on species. Pipistrelle bats measure 3-5cm with a wingspan between 19-25cm. The greater horseshoe bat and the noctule bat have a wingspan up to 38cm
Weight: 3-9g (Pipistrelle)
Lifespan: Average 4-5 years
Diet: Small flying insects
Family: Chiropetra - meaning hand-wing in Greek. This is an apt description, as the bone structure of a bat's wing resembles extended human fingers with the skin stretched tight between them up to the fingertips
Help us protect bats
Will you donate to our first ever national bat monitoring scheme - and help us protect them from harm?
Last date edited: 5 October 2016