We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Waterways to wellbeing

As we pack away our Christmas trees and polish off the turkey, most people’s thoughts turn to New Year resolutions.

Walking holiday Family walking along towpath

Maybe you want to get fit and healthy, or find exciting places to explore so you can spend more time with friends and family. Perhaps, you just want to enjoy life to its fullest and increase your wellbeing.

Five ways to wellbeing

Supported by local GPs and health groups, research has shown that there are five ways to wellbeing that we can all enjoy. So, if you live or work near one of our wonderful waterways here’s how they can help you achieve five ways to wellbeing – and keep your resolutions this year.


The evidence shows that feeling close to, and valued by other people is a fundamental human need. With this in mind, try to do something different today and spend time with others:

  • If you’re walking, running, cycling or boating along your local canal stretch take time to say hi to people – it’s a great way to make new friends or catch up with old ones.
  • Ask how someone’s weekend by the canal was and really listen when they tell you.

Be active

Regular activity is great for health and fitness but did you know it’s also helpful in lowering depression and promoting wellbeing? It doesn’t have to be particularly intense for you to feel good:

  • Go for a walk at lunchtime along your local canal towpath or riverside walk.
  • Cycle to work along a towpath - perhaps with a colleague – so you can ‘connect’ as well.

Take notice

Studies show that being aware of your surroundings directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help reaffirm your life priorities. You could:

  • Take a different route to or from work or to the shops – did we mention towpaths are good for that?
  • Visit a new place for lunch. If you’re after somewhere peaceful, try a canal side bench (but before you’re tempted to toss your left over sandwich to the ducks, find out how we’re keeping our ducks healthy).

Two girls sitting by the canal


They say ‘learning something new every day’ can enhance self-esteem and encourage that vital social connection and a more active life. Here are a few of our ideas:

  • Visit one of our Open Days to find out what we’re doing to keep our waterways maintained.
    Research something you’ve always wondered about at one of our museums.
  • Learn to fish or find out what wildlife lives along your local stretch of canal.


Community life attracts a lot of attention in wellbeing research. People who help others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. It’s not just about doing a good deed - our volunteer love to stay active, meet new friends and do their bit to keep their local canal a special place.

You’ll have loads more ideas on how canals and rivers can support your New Year resolutions. Why not share them with us on our Facebook page?

Last date edited: 3 January 2017