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.
…and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”, these are very wise words indeed from poet John Lydgate. Although occasionally I feel like it would be nice to just please any of the people any of the time.
I arrived at work this Monday morning and dug into my email inbox as I always do. Most mornings, and particularly after the weekend, I have a delightful selection of new messages; it’s a bit like opening that label-less tin you found at the back of your cupboard – you have no idea what could be in it but you’re always hopeful that it might be something tasty!
Between you and me, I much prefer this time of day and I’d even go so far as to say that it’s my favourite time of day. That’s because, on the balance of probability, the majority of these emails will be from customers rather than my colleagues (they’re a pretty good bunch but they tend not to email me about anything interesting or unusual). Don’t get me wrong though it’s not always the nice, warm, lovely stuff but, if it’s not, I’m usually able to do something about it. After all that’s what I’m here for.
Lost at the starting line
Although it exasperates me when something which I wholeheartedly believe to be so categorically positive that no one could possibly turn it into something negative, is turned into something negative. When you do what I do you develop an in-built radar for potential problems, you learn when to expect feedback or criticism and you learn how you might be able to turn things round in a constructive way. But sometimes what you read is so narrow minded or utterly bizarre that you’re lost at the starting line!
For example, I’m almost certain that when we secured funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery to reinvigorate some of our canal and riverbank hedgerows, thereby providing better shelter and food for many threatened species, not one of us thought this was a bad news story. Nope, we certainly didn’t expect to hear back from someone who was very concerned to hear that we were extending and filling the gaps in hedges. You see, we would be spoiling their views of the countryside from the waterways whilst cruising and devaluing their amenity. Oh, and of course, wildlife will have to simply evolve and adapt as it always has…
Another example, which I think is permanently etched into my consciousness, has to be the phone call taken by my team from a man who was so incensed by our new sponsored licence disc holders that his call lasted almost an hour. To say he was less than enamoured by the smiling lady on the reverse of his new disc holder is an understatement. We did offer to send him out some plain holders during the first five minutes of the conversation but he just kept going, hardly coming up for breath at all. So what can you do, other than listen?
Distrust and antipathy
Sometimes even the simplest daily task we undertake can evoke such cynicism you wouldn’t believe as you’ll see from the photo of this customer’s response to our random insurance check. Yes, it really is random, ‘proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason , or pattern’, like being picked out of a hat. I’d say that this response just begs the question, what has this customer done to think that it would have been anything other than a random selection?!
And then, of course, you just have the few people who you’ll never please any of the time. I’m sure that I’ll die trying but at least if I fail in some small way I may have made them happy by not making them happy, thus reinforcing their opinion that we are all useless. Still, I will know that I’ve tried.
This reminds me of a phone call we took recently from a bemused gentleman. He had lived in blissful ignorance, thinking that his boat was simply named after a small village in North Wales called Llamedos…that was until someone pointed out to him what happens when you read it backwards. Strangely enough we have quite a few boats registered with the same or very similar names.
Sarina joined us in 2008 as our customer services co-ordinator. Among other things, she manages our national customer service team, complaints procedure and requests for information made to the Trust. She says that the most important thing to her is to be able to go home and feel as though she’s achieved something, however small that might be. Her job is hugely satisfying, widely varied, full of deadlines, immensely interesting, sometimes challenging and no day is ever the same, although some are surprisingly familiar!