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.
The idea of a change of career is nothing new I know, but database analyst to canal towpath fundraiser is quite a big change, especially when it is via a 4,500 mile bike ride around the coast of Britain. This is how it happened.
Being made redundant was all the excuse I needed to take a complete break and fulfill a long held ambition to cycle around Great Britain. My wife was daft enough to want to come too so in April last year we packed our tent, sleeping bags and a few spare items of clothing on to our bikes and had, what turned out to be, an adventure of a life time.
Everybody told us such a trip might be life-changing and to be honest that is what I wanted. I was looking for a complete change in career, lifestyle and outlook and that is exactly what I got.
Looking for work on our return turned out to be a soul destroying business and I started to apply for anything and everything so long as it didn’t involve computers, offices or Monday to Friday, nine to five routine. When I got a phone call asking if I was still interested in the role of Canal & River Trust fundraiser I was a little bit cautious because I couldn’t actually remember what the job involved.
I tentatively asked the woman at the agency if I would be making calls in an office or rattling a tin on a towpath and when she said it was more the latter I was overjoyed. I think she was a little taken aback by my enthusiasm to be honest but the job really did tick a lot of boxes for me.
So what’s it like being a Trust fundraiser? Well it’s hard work but I love it. I get to work in some great locations surrounded by fabulous scenery and wildlife and I spend my days talking to people about something I love, the canals.
Stopping complete strangers and engaging them in conversation can be challenging at times and I do seem to attract one or two, shall we say, more interesting characters, but mostly people are just keen to know what we do. I love explaining to them everything about the Trust’s work and if I can convince them to support us by becoming a ‘friend’ then all the better.
I wanted a change from office routine and I certainly got that. In the eight short weeks I have been employed I have watched a heron diving for fish like a giant monochrome kingfisher (which they don’t normally do apparently).
I have been given a ten minute lecture on the intricacies of VHF radio (riveting stuff) and I have had a member of the public blown away whilst I was talking to him. It wasn’t my compelling sales patter that did it, it was just a very strong gust of wind that took him by surprise!
At the end of each week I send off my paperwork related to new ‘friends of the trust’ and I can’t help but enjoy a little chuckle. I imagine somebody somewhere feeding in the data to a computer so that somebody else can do the data analysis that will ultimately determine whether I keep my job or not. I expect they do it between nine and five sometime on a Monday to Friday and it makes me smile.
Keep up with Tony's travels and thoughts at Clockwise Words.
Our guest bloggers all have a passion for our waterways, whether they are volunteers, staff or the experts we work with.