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.
How eating a cream tea in Cornwall made me think about a holiday on the Grand Union Canal
In my opinion the best cream tea to be had in Cornwall is served at the Brown Sugar tea rooms in Fowey.
On holiday last week down in that lovely (but challenging for parking) county we followed the advice of a friend, left the car in Polruan and took the foot ferry across to Fowey. These delightful, picturesque fishing villages deliver what most visitors to Cornwall are looking for: pretty narrow streets, gorgeous old white-washed cottages – and the traditional Cornish Cream Tea, complete with a pot of English tea grown on the Tregothnan plantation.
The scones (let’s not get started on the debate about how that word is pronounced) were warm and fresh from the oven, the homemade strawberry jam was delicious and the cream to die for. We tucked in with relish (well, it was 4pm and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast) and enjoyed every mouthful. It was two days later when we were indulging in another tea in Falmouth that we learned there are 'rules' to eating a cream tea. There is the Cornish way (jam on the scone first, then cream) and the Devonian way (cream first, then jam). Who knew? And we’d eaten our Fowey tea all wrong. The ignominy of it; our mistake marking us out as complete amateurs. But it got me wondering how these things are decided? Who makes these ‘rules’?
When I was a child and enjoying our first family holiday on the Grand Union Canal, as we picked up our boat from Red Rose Cruisers in Berkhamsted, we were told the rule was to leave lock gates open as a courtesy to oncoming boaters (of course this didn’t help any hapless boaters following you). As the designated lockwheeler I did as I had been told. Now, of course, the Canal & River Trust asks boaters to close the lock gates behind them to help conserve water. And this at least seems to provide a level playing field for all boaters (although I know the debate still rages on today on some forums.)
The cream teas were delicious whether eaten the Cornish or the Devonian way, but the Cornish way is easier and less likely to cause spillage of the precious rich cream. Closing lock gates still means you have a lovely canal holiday, it doesn’t take more than a couple of seconds, and it helps us to save water. (There's a tenous link in there somewhere. Honest.)
Liz Waddington is editor of The Source, the Canal & River Trust’s monthly staff newspaper. She has been in love with canals and their industrial heritage since her first holiday on the Grand Union Canal when she was 10 years old. Liz likes nothing more than getting out and meeting her colleagues on the cut.