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.
What is it that makes our waterways so quintessentially English? And, so attractive to millions of visitors every year? Here’s our guide to some of the more curious canal quirks for tourists to spot this year…
OK, we’re the first to admit that our English waterways and the rose and castle covered narrowboats that cruise them are, by their very nature, quirky to start with. But take a closer look and you’ll find an array of features that make our canals and rivers even more fascinating places to visit.
At Foxton Locks, and many other key locations around our waterways, you will see a strangely shaped pillar (or bollard to call it by its English term). These are in fact cleverly disguised SCADA water measurement devices. Designed to blend into the heritage surroundings, the ‘Daleks’, as our water management team call them, are used to count the number of boats going through the lock and monitor water going downhill through the locks.
No, not the name of one of our River Severn locks. It’s a brass padlock from the Calder & Hebble Navigation, which was used to chain lock gates closed on Sundays and is said to have been used in a stunt by Houdini. You can take a closer look at the lock and work out if the legend is true for yourself at our National Waterways Museum – Gloucester Docks.
The Somerset Space Walk is a sculpture trail model of the Solar System. The walk starts at Higher Maunsel Lock in Somerset. The model uses the towpath of the 22km (14 miles) Bridgwater and Taunton Canal to display a model of the sun and its planets in their proportionally correct sizes and distances apart.
Tucked away, under a bridge on the Oxford Canal, is an extraordinary creature. The kingfisher forms part of a series of stunning murals – the Oxford mural project – one of many arts projects we support across our waterways.
If you go down to the woods today it won’t be teddy bears surprising you. Woodlesford Locks, near Leeds on the Aire & Calder Navigation, is home to a woodland walk with a difference. One of the local boaters, with support from the Forestry Commission, has created an entire heard of woodland creatures.
There is one special place on our waterway network where you can literally stand in two countries at the same time. Part of the 11 mile UNESCO World Heritage Site, the beautiful Llangollen Canal runs from England to Wales and crosses Chirk aqueduct. The border runs right through the middle of the aqueduct. Making it the perfect place to hold our new annual international duck race.
Look out for the Floating Cinema, either docked at its moorings in East London’s Elizabeth Olympic Park or more recently, up at Hull Marina in 2017 celebrating that city’s year of culture. You can't really miss it – it's a stunning white perspex cinema and auditorium on a purpose-built wide beam barge. It’s another arts project we support – along with the Arts Council England and others.
Birmingham actually has around 100 miles of waterways. Often thought of an urban myth, but if measured using our Birmingham Canal Navigations network, you will find the miles add up. Yet, far from being a heavily industrialised part of our waterways, Birmingham’s restoration and regeneration has delivered an amazing collection of canals from high end shops and restaurants in the heart of the city to calm and restful walking routes further out.
Completed in 2004 as part of the Grand Union Canal office and retail development project at Paddington Basin, London, the Rolling Bridge is a type of movable bridge. Despite its name, it’s more accurately decribed as ‘curling’. The bridge was created by British designer Thomas Heatherwick, who also designed the new London Routemaster bus.
Find your quirky
With over 120 featured places to visit - and loads of even quirkier canal curios to uncover - find your quirky on our canals today
Last date edited: 14 March 2018