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.
Working boats on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal
The brightly painted narrowboats that you see on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal today are very different from the boats that used to work on the canal.
A distinctive type of boat was developed for the locks on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. The ‘short boats’ were around 18m (60 ft) long and just over 4 metres (14ft) wide.
They were based on boats that worked on the Aire & Calder and Humber rivers.
Initially they were drawn by horse. After 1880 steam boats were used on the fast 24 hour flyboat service which carried perishable goods and passengers.
Steam powered boats were widely used from the 1930s onwards and could tow three or four ‘dumb’ or unpowered boats.
Their main cargoes were coal and limestone, but they also carried a wide range of other goods. Boats were also used for maintenance, ice breaking and a range of other tasks.
The boats were decorated in a distinctive style known as ‘Brightwork’, which was very different to the roses and castles of the midlands canals.
Independent boat owners.
Short boat carrying capacity.
Last commercial traffic.
Horse drawn canal company short boat Tiger with traditional brightwork decoration, photographed around 1900.
Horse drawn coal boat Progress ice bound above Five Rise Locks around 1900. Note the distinctive Yorkshire chimney.
Steam flyboats Agate, Amy and Beaver ice bound at the top of Five Rise Locks around 1915.
Canal company launch Alexandra with company directors above Five Rise Locks with Gawthorpe Hall visible in the background.
Steam driven short boat Skipton around 1950, carrying a cargo of domestic coal.
Bingley Heritage Awareness Project:
Last date edited: 20 July 2015