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.
Dick Walker was arguably the most influential angler, not just of the past 100 years, but of all time. He brought a scientific approach to the sport that is taken for granted now, yet in the 1950s and 1960s his approach revolutionised fishing.
Dick was born in 1918 in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. His father, who taught him to fish at an early age, was a soldier and his mother an employee of the post office. After school in Saffron Walden and Letchworth he went to Cambridge University which coincided with the outbreak of war. He worked for the Royal Aircraft Establishment based at Farnborough during the war years
Walker was the complete angler, equally at home with fly-fishing for trout, legering for barbel or using 1lb line and a tiny float to tempt big roach. However, he is best known for catching a 44lb carp from Redmire Pool in 1952 that shattered the British record by almost 13lb.
For many years the fish, christened Clarissa (though Walker called it Ravioli) was in the aquarium of the London Zoo. That fish went on to inspire a generation, and today’s modern carp anglers owe a huge debt to Walker for proving that big carp weren’t, as many thought, uncatchable. He is recognised as the father of modern carp fishing. That 44lb common carp also made Redmire, a three-acre lake near Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, internationally famous.
Walker’s record stood for almost 30 years and was beaten by a 51lb 8oz Redmire carp caught in 1980 by Chris Yates. Yates was using a Mark IV split-cane carp rod that Walker had made in 1955, and he dedicated his first book, 'Casting at the Sun', to Walker, calling him: “A more complete angler than Walton.”
The Mark IV that bears Walker’s name is perhaps the most famous of all fishing rods. Walker designed it to handle the outsize Redmire carp and many anglers still fish with one. It is still being produced by various makers though the few made by Walker’s own hand sell for thousands of pounds.
Walker wasn’t just a one-trick pony, either. As his book 'No Need to Lie' documents, he caught massive fish of all species. These included chub to 6lb 14oz, masses of 2lb roach including one of 3lb 4oz, rudd 3lb 3oz, 12lb 12oz barbel, rainbow trout 18lb (which would have been a British record at the time if Walker had bothered to claim), brown trout 12lb, seven dace over 1lb, the best 1lb 5oz, perch to 4lb 13oz and even a 4oz gudgeon (from Redmire).
He developed the Arlesey bomb to reach big perch at distance in a lake near his Hertfordshire home. His Heron alarm was the forerunner of today’s electronic bite indicators. He played a key role in the development of carbon-fibre rods. He was the inspiration and leading light of the Carp Catchers’ Club, whose august membership included BB, (Denys Watkins-Pitchford) Bernard Venables and Fred J Taylor.
His very first fishing article was published in 'The Fishing Gazette' in September 1936, and he was paid 15 shillings for it. This encouraged him to write more and he became a profilic author, contributing to all the main magazines of his day, often under the pseudonym Water Rail.
Dick's writing was hugely influential. His 'Still Water Angling' played a key role in the foundation of specimen hunting, and his weekly column in Angling Times, which ran for 30 years, was required reading: superbly written but challenging, questioning and inspiring.
Other publications like 'No Need to Lie' and 'Drop Me a Line', written with Maurice Ingham, carry a high value on the book collector market. Walker wrote more than 20 books, though some were reprints of his columns, published after his death. His very first, though, was not about fishing but breeding rabbits!
Dick appeared on Roy Plomley’s desert island discs in 1974. He died of cancer in 1985, but his influence still pervades everywhere. His birthplace, 32 Fishponds Road, Hitchin, bears a Blue Plaque, which commemorates the home or workplace of famous people. He is the only angler to have been awarded this honour.
Last date edited: 11 March 2016