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.
Winter’s a great time to spot waterway wildlife so wrap up warm and pay us a visit
Winter is a great time to see deer, as their hiding places in dense woodland become sparse. Badgers and foxes are also easier to spot in the winter, particularly as the bright red fur of the fox stands out against the dull, wintery background.
Badgers have long oval shaped pads with five toe prints. It’s unusual to have five toes touch the ground in this way. Otters are the only other British mammal to do this. However, with otters, you can sometimes see the webbing between their toes which contributes to their top swimming ability.
Fox footprints are much harder to discern as you will find that the foot is very similar to a dog footprint. An easy way to tell is to draw a horizontal line between the two forward toe pads and the back two toe pads, if you can draw a line straight through then you must have a fox track!
Birds can be easier to see throughout the winter and although some of our familiar summertime species disappear, a whole host of species join us for winter.
Many of our rural canals and rivers twist their way through arable farmland. These fields are the best place to spot some of our winter tourists such as the redwings and the fieldfares. These two species look similar to the song thrush and sometimes you can see redwings and fieldfares flocking together. It’s tricky to tell them apart but the eagle eyed will spot the red flash on the underwing which gives the redwing its name.
Bewick’s and whooper swans are also winter visitors and will gather in large impressive flocks over the cold months. Long-term studies on these birds have identified individuals by the markings on their beaks. A wealth of information about the way family groups will stick together for many years, has also been gathered from these flocks.
Recent research has found that some of our smallest mammals, bats, also migrate. Tiny nathusius’s pipistrelles are particular fans of the wide, open waters of canals and lakes but very occasionally they have been known to turn up on oil rigs out in the North Sea!
The appearance of these little animals on oil rigs suggests that they fly across the sea. In the last couple of years it’s been confirmed that two pipistrelles have migrated over from the continent; one from as far away as Latvia! There is still a lot to learn about these fascinating creatures!
Get your free Nature Spotters' Guide
Whatever the season, waterways are always teeming with wildlife. Download your free guide today and start exploring the waterway nature near you
Last date edited: 17 January 2018