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.
Education volunteer, Les Dundon, explains how canoeing is a fantastic vehicle for learning outside the classroom.
During May and June this year, Explorers in the North West have supported the Desmond Family Canoe Trail at week long events aimed at primary schools. Our support allowed the organiser to split large classes into two manageable groups with one group in the canoes and the other doing some Explorers habitats work.
Feedback from both teachers and children has been fantastic, with one child saying, “I want to do this tomorrow and every day forever”, while one teacher sought me out to tell me, “I’ve been doing school day trips for 14 years, and that was the best ever”. At the same time, Explorers managed to enrich the education of over 650 children from urban and inner city schools with half a day of “Learning Outside The Classroom”.
The first event, at the SAFE canoe hub in Bootle, happened during May. SAFE is housed in an old school complex, and has an excellent space for habitats work and pitching the new Explorers Marquee. The canal is quite lively here, so 249 children were able to enjoy half a school day learning new individual and team working skills in the canoes, along with picking up some interesting information and understanding from pond dipping, the Animal Hunt activity and the Habitats quiz. It’s great to see children engage with lessons like this.
The second event involved 207 children at the Burscough Wharf canoe hub. This location is much more public than SAFE’s garden, and the canal is much busier, with little in the way of aquatic fauna so pond dipping was not possible. Fortunately, the canal is a really interesting place to be. So while one half of a class was learning about teamwork in canoes, the other spent 20 minutes on an animal hunt, and 40 minutes learning about the rich heritage of the canal during a walk to Rufford Top Lock. We were inventive, using mile markers and building dates to introduce some maths problems, and taking advantage of the obliging nature of the local wildlife for a bit of animal ID work, but the children were knocked out by watching the operation of the locks.
The final event for the summer term took place at the Eanam Wharf canoe hub in Blackburn with another 208 children. Despite being right in the centre of Blackburn, the green corridor is thriving and pond dipping was back on the agenda, with the Animal Hunt spread out along the towpath. Here we see Chris explaining about the swans’ nest opposite the wharf, before moving on to the animal hunt. Once again, children were engaged enthusiastically with the activities, and teachers were amazed at the versatility of the facility they found right on their doorstep.
All in all, the Desmond Family canoe trail event weeks have been a huge success, with 664 children from 15 schools in 3 completely different towns experiencing the freedom of learning outside the classroom. We managed to cover maths, science, history, PE and, most of all, citizenship.
The Education Team delivers two main learning programmes. Explorers which is aimed at primary school children and uniformed groups, and STEM which is aimed at secondary schools. We provide free, curriculum linked learning resources for teachers and offer a range of outreach sessions to inspire children and young people about our waterways. Our fantastic Education Volunteers deliver sessions on the towpath or in school, bringing the stories of our waterways to life.