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.
“It’s rewarding going to bed at night knowing you’ve made a real difference to somebody's life,” says Hertfordshire chaplain Lorraine Newman.
We're there for anybody using the towpath, anybody that has any kind of need. There are quite a lot of people around with mental health problems who just like to talk to us. We help people when their boats break down or if they have money difficulties. Hardly any people on boats have a postcode. That gives them problems getting mail and it can be difficult getting a doctor or dentist, or applying for benefits.
I always carry a windlass. We help people with locks as we go along. Most boaters are used to opening their own, but there are holiday-makers or elderly boaters that need help. We have sleeveless gilets that have 'waterways chaplain' on the back in big letters and lots of pockets. I also carry a notebook, mobile phone, torch and vouchers for food banks.
You need to be a good listener. I help people in all sorts of ways, but when they are interviewed after I've given them support, the first thing they always say is that I sit and listen to them. In this life, with people rushing about, there is a lack of people listening. That's the most important thing, that people can sit and talk and know whatever you say won't be passed on.
Our biggest challenge is facing new problems. There is some training, but really you are learning on the job. People can be suicidal and I have had people say that I’ve saved their lives. Just being there makes a huge difference.
It's great how the boating community rally round. I work in the area I live and do most of my own boating. People are on continuous cruising licenses, so move every 14 days, but tend to stay in the same area.The people I serve are my friends now. I can walk along the towpath and I see lots of people and I'm always being invited for cups of tea. Very often, a boater will have a problem with their boat and six others will try and fix it. If they get nowhere, then I'll call someone out.
The rivers Lee and Stort are beautiful. You can go through the middle of a town and it's as if you are in the countryside. Some people have beautiful arrays of flowers on their boats and there was an elderly boater who loved planting things. As I go along I know wherever his boat's been, because you see a sunflower growing.
We bought a narrowboat five years ago and we called it Annie & Walt after a boat that my great-great-grandparents worked on in 1901.
Interview: Chris Mugan
You're reading Waterfront, the online home of our supporters magazine. If you want to be the first to find out about out latest news and features then become a Friend of the Trust. We'll send you regular emails telling you all about our colourful canals and rivers and much more.
Become a Friend today