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.
Each year there are two periods of migration, spring and autumn.
Although the two migrations involve birds moving from one site to another, in the spring birds are rushing to get the best breeding ground and the best partner and so they travel as fast as possible to get there. Yes, they will rest at watering holes to feed and drink but they need to get to the site as soon as possible.
The autumn migration is a little different in that the breeding is done and the majority of birds will be travelling back to where they overwinter, but not in such a hurry and may hang around at watering holes and rest points a little longer, allowing us twitchers to see them better.
This time of year different weather conditions appear over the Atlantic and the continent and these conditions can force rare birds to end up in the UK and also aid/restrict general migration. The parents also have their young in tow, still teaching them to hunt and feed before the flight to their wintering grounds.
By early October cuckoos and swifts will have already left the UK and are heading to Africa via mainland Europe, warblers – such as common whitethroat and sedge warbler are preparing to go and house martins and swallows are feeding up for the long flight. The hedgerows along the canals and rivers will start to empty with the warblers going but soon they will start to be replaced by fieldfares and redwings, coming in from Scandanavia, and also more common species – blackbird, robin, bullfinch – will all be swelled in numbers by birds coming from abroad to winter in the “warm” UK.
There is also an internal migration, birds such as meadow pipits have bred on moorlands but will seek lower ground to winter. Golden plovers, curlew and oystercatchers breed inland on moors and gravel pits but will migrate to the coast to winter with thousands of their own species.
Look for birds in the trees and hedgerows. Sounds obvious but birds are moving through and they still need to eat, searching for insects and seeds as they go. Bird numbers will be multiplied by the juveniles which also have to migrate and they will be wanting as much food as possible to build their strength and stamina for, in some cases, a very long flight. Juvenile redstarts, whinchats and spotted flycatchers can turn up almost anywhere.
One family of birds easy to see during migration are waders. These are birds of varying size that generally tend to favour the muddy estuaries during the winter months however whilst on passage (the movement during migration) birds can end up anywhere were there are mud flats, even canals and rivers. Green sandpipers are generally the first birds to return, a small browny green wader with a striking sharp blast for a call, these can easily occur on rivers and canal banks. So can common sandpiper, very similar to green sandpipers but these birds bob as they walk around hunting food. Redshanks are also easily seen on rivers and canals and are obvious birds with their bright red legs.
Explore your hidden world
Step onto our towpaths and discover a hidden world where wildlife flourishes
The Canal & River Trust has top team of committed experts and enthusiasts, who help to protect our waterway environment and improve it for both people and nature. Follow this blog to find out more about the hugely varied work they carry out.