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.
Building the tunnel was difficult and took five years to complete. Workers began at either end and worked towards the middle using similar excavation techniques to the Romans.
This major feat of canal building highlights the skill and precision of the engineers, navvies, miners and stonemasons involved. Burnley became a major centre for engineering.
The tunnel was constructed without a towpath so boaters would lie on their backs and walk along the ceiling or wall of the tunnel to propel the boat along. All 511m of it! Exhausting! ‘Boat Horse Lane’ was built to connect the two ends of the tunnel. As the boats navigated the tunnel, the horses were walked over the top, along the lane and back onto the towpath.
By the early 1900’s boatman Richard Draper used a tug boat to pull boats through the tunnel. He was ‘Gannow Tugmaster’ for 40 years and towed thousands of boats through the tunnel during this time. Working on the canal also meant he was well placed for several daring rescues. On one occasion Draper leapt into the water from the bow of his tug to save a child who had fallen in the canal.
Tunnels like this are a haven for bats. They roost in the dark, damp conditions and feast on the insect rich water. This makes Gannow Tunnel an ideal place for them to live and breed. If you walk along the towpath at dusk you may be lucky enough to spot the tiny Pipistrelle bats whiz past.
Last date edited: 21 July 2015