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.
When was the last time you took time out of your busy schedule to notice the world changing around you? We think you will enjoy your day more if you spend just 15 minutes walking along the canal on the lookout for signs of spring.
Our ecologists work hard to make sure our canals and rivers are home to a huge variety of flora and fauna. We’ve asked them for their favourite signs of spring and they’ve come back with a wide selection of things you may have never noticed. How many can you find near you?
This is a strange plant with leaves shaped like a horse’s foot. It produces flowers before its leaves come out. You’re more likely to find it in the wetter edges along the canal towpath.
Keep an eye out for this attractive plant around lock brickwork. It looks like a miniature white carpet of flowers. It’s common but easily over-looked.
For most of the year this loner of the canals has a solitary existence but come spring they join their fellow herons to form breeding colonies in the crowns of tall trees close to water. Like many water birds they are early nesters so great opportunity to see them nest building and pair bonding before the leaves emerge and conceal the young as they fledge.
Many birds returning from warmer climates are small with big voices, especially the warblers. Their songs are often beautiful and complex and quite difficult to identify. However, one that is very distinctive is the chiff-chaff. Its name describes its song, chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff.
A blackthorn winter is when we get cold weather in spring when the blackthorn is in bloom. When blackthorn is in full bloom, its pale blossoms are often matched by frost-whitened grass or snow-covered fields.
Many trees along the canal sprout catkins in the spring. Take a walk and see how many different types of catkin you can spot.
This plant has pink bottle-brush flowers later to be replaced by huge umbrella leaves. Each year we get plenty of enquiries about what these strange looking plants are.
Any warm sunny days through the spring may bring a variety of insects out from their winter hibernation, bumble bees and some or our larger butterflies such as red admirals and the yellow brimstone can often be seen.
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: 15 February 2018