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.
Find out more about the iconic birds that share their home along our waterways.
The kingfisher’s bright orange front and striking blue back and wings make it one of the most striking birds to be found along the waterways of Britain, this little gem is unmistakable as it patrols the riverbanks and towpaths. Mostly found on still pools or slow flowing waters, canals are very good hunting grounds for the kingfisher. It is estimated there are around 4500 breeding pairs in Britain.
A small bird slightly larger in size to a sparrow, kingfishers breed in burrows along riverbanks and can often be seen hunting from a favoured perch over the water diving to take small fish and other aquatic creatures. Most common in central and southern areas kingfishers can be found across the whole of the country, though in winter time many will migrate to coastal estuaries where food is more plentiful
Male and female birds look almost identical however if you are lucky enough to get close to one the lower mandible will differentiate males from females. The male has a totally black bill whilst the female has an orange lower mandible with black tip.
A large black bird with a white bill and ‘shield’ covering the front of its head leading to the term ‘Bald as a Coot’ The coot is a member of the rail family, its eye is dark red in colour and it has very large feet with lobes of skin on its toes, instead of webbing found on ducks and geese. This enables coots to walk on uneven surfaces whilst also allowing it to swim easily. They can be found in large communal groups in winter and feed on pretty much anything. They have a very aggressive nature and can often be seen chasing off other coots.
Another member of the rail family, smaller than the coot the moorhen displays a bright red bill with a yellow tip. It has long green legs and large feet. Moorhens are often found dabbling along the edge of rivers and canals searching for food. Omnivorous like the coot they will feed on vegetation, small fish, snails and fruit. The most common member of the rail family in Britain in terms of numbers with around 270,000 breeding pairs. Seen closer-up, they have a dark brown back and wings and a more bluish-black belly, with white stripes on the flanks.
Smaller and distinctly slimmer than the moorhen, the water rail is a fairly common but highly secretive inhabitant of freshwater wetlands. It has chestnut-brown and black upperparts, grey face and underparts and black-and-white barred flanks, and a long red bill. Difficult to see in the breeding season, it is relatively easier to find in winter, when it is also more numerous and widespread. Although usually secretive they can far more often be heard than seen. The call of the water rail is likened to a squealing pig, it is very distinctive.
Join the Trust at Fradley Junction in Staffordshire for one of our bird walks’. We meet once a month throughout the year to introduce people to the birds and wildlife around us, best of all it's free. We have spare binoculars for you to borrow again free of charge.
More from the environment team
Read more about pennywort, eels, water voles, spring, ecologists and lots of other fascinating sights along the canal
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.