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.
Sefton-based education volunteer, Les Dundon, reveals the secrets of maintaining a child's attention in the popular 'Build A Canal' activity, run by the Explorers team.
Build a Canal is a fantastic way of teaching children about industrial and local history. It’s more fun than sitting through a lecture or reading a book because children love to do things, and Build a Canal gives them that opportunity.
By using a sandpit, some wooden animals and bridges, small plastic shovels and lashings of water, children learn about digging the trenches to using animals to tread down the clay that lined the canals. In Sefton, we’ve taken the opportunity to engage more children more deeply by supplementing the basic kit with a variety of small props, introduced as the activity progresses.
The first prop to make an appearance is the engineer’s three cornered, 18th Century hat, purchased from a second hand shop. This is closely followed by the coloured pencils. Surveyors have always used high visibility sticks for marking routes, so when our engineer 'plans' his or her route, they can mark it in the same way that real engineers have always done.
Next, we have the navvies’ uniforms. The peaked cap to keep the sun off their heads and out of their eyes, the neck scarf that keeps the sun off their neck, and the vital string around their trousers to stop small creatures crawling up their legs. We’ve recently added a toy rat to liven things up. Navvies are given plastic spoons to act as a shovels. Curiously, this focuses them on digging the canal carefully, rather than simply playing in the sand.
The 'puddling' activity is the next big change for us. The basic kit includes three animals, but why not have 10, for farm hands to stomp up and down our canal. Seven children fill the canal incrementally, because it rains most days.
Finally, we talk about the canal effect. Industry and commerce enabled by the canal. A simple bag of sugar (from a motorway cafe) represents Tate & Lyle’s massive sugar refinery in Liverpool, and cotton in all its stages of production represent the town of Burnley. Of course, all we need now is a mill owner and a factory owner.
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.