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.
Caen Hill lock flight, a two-century old Wiltshire landmark is helping millions of people enjoy cups of tea during breaks in TV programmes, thanks to innovative technology.
“It’s great that something 200-years old is solving a very 21st Century-century problem.
We've joined forces with Open Energi to turn off water pumps on the historic Kennet & Avon Canal at times when the National Grid needs to ‘borrow’ electricity to cope with major surges in demand. Sporting competitions and breaks during popular TV shows are among the times when the technology is needed, with the canal supporting as many as 10 ‘events’ each day.
The National Grid is unable to store electricity and reducing consumption from large electricity users for a few minutes during ‘events’, by turning off equipment such as heaters and air conditioning units in large office blocks, provides a green and affordable solution. It is the first time the canal network has been used for this purpose.
Pumps at Caen Hill lock flight, Seend, Semington, Wootton Rivers and Bradford-upon-Avon send the equivalent of 9,000 Olympic sized swimming pools back to the top of hills along the Kennet & Avon, after the movement of boats through locks has brought the water down the slopes.
Open Energi’s technology can also turn the pumps on if there is too much energy in the grid, which can lead to equipment failures. For example, when over 17 million people watched Andy Murray win the Wimbledon title in sweltering temperatures, the canal’s pumps helped to absorb the ‘excess’ energy which was, in effect, left on the grid while people were busy cheering Andy and not making cups of tea.
The technology earns us approximately £17,000 per year, as well as contributing to CO2 footprint savings.
Darren Parkinson, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “It’s great that something 200-years old is solving a very 21st Century-century problem. The Kennet & Avon Canal is a really beautiful, scenic waterway, full of wildlife. That it’s embracing cutting-edge technology and doing its bit to help people all over the country go about their daily lives is fascinating. Next time you flick the switch on the kettle at half-time in the Cup Final or during the X Factor, remember there’s part of a historic waterway going to sleep for a few minutes to help you.
“It doesn’t affect how people use the canal, as the pumps are only turned off or on for a matter of minutes at a time. Open Energi’s technology monitors potential ‘events’ and sends a request to activate the pumps - all of this happens automatically in matter of seconds at the locations where the pumps are. We are delighted with how the project is progressing. We always say the canal offers so much more than people think, and this is further proof.”
Ged Holmes from Open Energi, added: “Most people don’t realise but every day National Grid faces a constant challenge to balance our electricity supply and demand. By embracing our technology, the Canal & River Trust is doing its bit to keep the lights on and help the UK meet its future energy security needs. At the same time it is cutting carbon and generating income to support the charity’s preservation work, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”
The Open Energi equipment works in tandem with the Trust’s own pump control systems to provide a second-by second grid balancing service, which does not compromise our requirement to pump water.
Canal & River Trust brand
19 March 2018
Bookings now open for 2018 Canal Pairs Championship
Breach of the Middlewich Branch, Shropshire Union Canal
16 March 2018
Heritage transport plaque awarded to Froghall Basin on Caldon Canal
15 March 2018
Artists launch ambitious cultural programme in Worcester
12 March 2018
Fradley event gives fascinating insight into our feathered friends
We're calling for boaters to take part in our 'boat owners views survey'
9 March 2018
Take a 'lock' behind the ‘Seends’ of the Kennet & Avon Canal