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.
Mike Beech, Keeper of the Foxton Canal Museum, recently lent me an exhibition about some key events of waterways history from the mid- 20th century up to the birth of the Canal & River Trust in 2012. I put it up in the Stop House at Braunston in time for the Historic Narrowboat Rally at the end of June and it drew a lot of interest.
The exhibition charted a course from the 1946 formation of the IWA and Nationalisation under the British Transport Commission in 1948, through the 1950s to the formation of the British Waterways Board in 1963. It covered the beginnings of the volunteer-led restoration movements, the ‘great stagnation’ of chronic underfunding in the 1970s and then the first signs of official regeneration in the 1980s. After that, the exhibition showed how things improved in the 1990s and 2000s and ended up, almost unimaginably when you look back, where they are today.
Highlights for me included a reference to the Daily Mail’s two page spread, ‘The Wasted Heritage’ of the waterways from 1967; the attempt by BWB to bulldoze the historic warehouses at Gloucester Docks in 1974; the great drought of 1976; and the English Heritage report from 1989 which stated that the historic structures of the waterways were being ruined by ‘poor craftsmanship and inappropriate materials’. This was true, but to be fair to BW, in its final 15 or so years it made genuine efforts to tackle the whole business of heritage conservation and the situation greatly improved.
Today, the preservation and safeguarding of waterways heritage is one of the chief objectives of the Canal & River Trust. So it was fitting that this exhibition was shown in the Stop House, an historic listed building built in 1796 in the heart of England, by the Oxford Canal Company.
As national heritage manager, Nigel’s role is to lead the Canal & River Trust’s team of regional heritage advisers in England and Wales. He has over 25 years’ experience of working in the conservation, archaeology and interpretation of historic buildings and places. He is a member of the editorial board of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation. He has written numerous articles concerning heritage conservation and is the author of several longer published works, including the English Heritage Book of Canals.