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.
Although they have left few visible remains, horse-drawn tramways were once vital for linking waterways to mines, quarries, lime and other mineral works. In the late 18th century they were viewed in some quarters as a threat to canals and the Duke of Bridgewater referred to them as ‘those damned tramways’. But by the 1800-30 period, when they were built in large numbers, tramways and the canals they fed had become an early example of integrated transport.
Up and down the country, industrialists and canal companies built tramways. Significant examples, often with inclines, fed the Kennet & Avon, Chesterfield, Derby, Mon & Brec, Stratford on Avon, Llangollen and Cromford canals and there were many others. These tramways were typically constructed with iron rails mounted on stone blocks and their rolling stock consisted of crude wooden wagons with iron wheels, pulled by horses.
By the mid-19th century horse-drawn tramways were being replaced by steam railways and today their remains are usually little more than archaeological sites; grassed over ramps and inclines or occasional sunken tracks crossed by small bridges.
A notable exception is Bugsworth Basin, on the Peak Forest Canal. This is the most complete canal and tramway terminus in Britain and was once a busy hub for transporting limestone and burnt lime. Elsewhere, a keen eye can occasionally spot former tramway rails cut up and bent into stop plank racks, especially on canals once owned by the Great Western Railway.
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.