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
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
Anyone can get out and go nature spotting - even Canal & River Trust staff. On a routine site visit to check on the condition of a hedge, some invasive pennywort and an ongoing minor pollution incident, here’s what we spotted in a half hour walk at Horbury Basin on the Calder & Hebble.
Our first sightings were common waterway birds - a majestic swan sleeping on the towpath (who was a little bit disgruntled that we woke him up) and a grey heron sat in the shade of a tree. You might’ve seen that we’ve been talking a lot about herons in the media recently as part of our Great Nature Watch, so it was good to see they are still using our beautiful waterways.
Bolstered by our initial sightings, we were very impressed to see a goldfinch at Figure of Three Locks (less impressed by the pennyworth though).
In addition to spotting things by looking up, we cast our eyes to the towpath and saw this prickly character - a peacock caterpillar. So long as it wasn’t squashed by unsuspecting towpath traffic, this would eventually turn into a beautiful peacock butterfly with blue and red wings. The other side of the canal, we watched a grey wagtail bobbing along with its easy to spot undulating flight.
Another ten minutes back along to Horbury Basin and we spotted a bullfinch (confirming that our previous spotting was indeed a goldfinch). The hedgerow along here is fairly continuous (although not laid, and quite tall), and seems like it’s quite popular with wildlife.
Feeling very enthusiastic about everything we’d seen so far, we then cast our eyes to the plants along the towpath. Easily overlooked on a nature spotting trip when there’s other things to see, we spotted quite a few common foxgloves (and I learned their latin name- digitalis purpurea), plenty of ferns, mugwort, hawthorns, brambles and cleavers.
Not far from the basin, I almost stood on a spotted wood butterfly sunning itself between showers (despite the sun and rain together, we didn’t spot a rainbow), and disturbed a kestrel which flew off into a tree on the other side of the canal. Its red wings were easy to spot, and with the binoculars we’d taken along to inspect the pennywort, we could see the black smudges under and around its eyes.
So grab those raincoats (it is British summertime after all) and get out there, who knows what you might see!
Emma Bird, environmental scientist, Canal & River Trust
Great Nature Watch
Take a trip to your local canal, river, reservoir or lake and record what you see there. It’s a fun activity to do with the family and will help us to monitor and protect the wide variety of precious wildlife that the waterways are home to.
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.