We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Canal history

We're proud to be the guardians of our historic canals and rivers, not forgetting the bridges, aqueducts and numerous other heritage structures dotted along them. But how did the canals come to be built in the first place, and why are Britain's canals so important?

Many of our canals were built at the height of the industrial revolution. Today, stepping foot onto one of our towpaths is like stepping into a living museum where you can touch all of the exhibits. On these pages you can read all about our fascinating canal heritage.

But even more incredible than the structures dotted along the canals are the stories of the people who worked the boats during the glorious Canal Age. The boatmen and women, the children who led the boat horse and grew up on board. Not to mention the pioneering engineers and hard-working navvies, without whom the canals would never have existed.