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.
Discover these ancient natural wonders – in a man-made landscape
Dappled sunlight on carpets of wild garlic; writhing branches dripping with lichen; a peppery smell of decaying plant matter underfoot; the distant rat-a-tat of a woodpecker. The wonders of ancient woodland are so familiar to us, yet there is so little of it left in Britain; covering less than two per cent of our landmass today. Any woodland continuously wooded for over 400 years is classed as ancient; a complex and biologically diverse ecosystem that evolved over centuries. They are fascinating places abundant with wild flowers, fauna and fungi; steeped in history and folklore. The canals adjoin these ancient woodlands – or were built through them – in a few very special places.
Lea Wood, Derbyshire (Cromford Canal)
In the verdant Lower Derwent Valley, nestled on the slopes above Cromford Canal you'll find Lea Wood. It’s a historic nature haven teeming with wild flowers and precious winged things, such as pied fly-catchers and lesser spotted woodpeckers. The woodland was once part of the estate of the Nightingale family, where Florence spent her summers. The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, who took over the site in 2013, run guided bluebell walks in spring. Skipton Castle Woods, North Yorkshire (Leeds & Liverpool Canal) This woodland once provided firewood, timber and a plentiful supply of venison for the medieval castle it surrounds and these days it's a joy to wander among the towering ash, oak, chestnut and rowan trees and spring carpets of bluebells and wild garlic. The standing dead trees and rock fissures make it a real haven for bats, particularly long-eared, pipistrelle and Natterer's bat. You may even spot a roe deer gracefully treading among the orchids.Sidney Wood, Sussex (Wey & Arun Canal) The Wey & Arun Canal was a Victorian waterway that linked London with the south coast, transporting coal, chalk and timber. It lay derelict until 1970 when enthusiasts formed the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, who are restoring a section of the waterway near Loxwood. Along a currently disused section you'll find Sidney Woods, an ancient oak woodland abundant with bird fauna, such as the long-eared owl, lesser spotted woodpecker and nightingale. Keep your eyes peeled for the whitish petals of the elusive Greater Butterfly-orchid in June or July.The Punchbowl, Monmouthshire (Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal) When the mighty Blorenge looms overhead as you walk along the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, look up and you'll see The Punchbowl nestled on its eastern slope. This glacial cwm (Welsh for valley) is one of the highest-altitude ancient semi-natural woodlands in Britain and surrounds a manmade lake. Keep your binoculars handy for green woodpeckers and bats, and of course, for stunning views of the Brecon Beacons, Sugar Loaf and The Skirrid. Perivale Wood, London (Grand Union Canal) Bet you never thought you could step off the Central Line in West London and enter 27 acres of ancient woodland? Perivale Wood sits on the banks of the Grand Union Canal and is thought to be one of the oldest nature reserves in Britain. For conservation reasons it's only open to the public once a year, on the last Sunday in April at the peak of bluebell season, and for other open air events. Otherwise if you become a member of the Selbourne Society (who manage the site) you can borrow a key to enter the woodland at your leisure.
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.
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