If you come along to one of our free open days you could find yourself doing anything from descending into drained lock chambers to a behind the scenes tour at the National Waterway Museum or walking along a drained aqueduct. The works will provide you with the rare chance to go behind-the-scenes and see some of the finest examples of working industrial heritage in the world close up.
We carry out a year-round programme of work to maintain and repair the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in our care. We need to maintain them so that they can be enjoyed by the 33,000 boats and 10 million towpath visitors each year.
Many of the biggest projects are carried out during the winter months to minimise the impact on waterway users. This year, essential maintenance will include the replacement of worn-out lock gates and repairs to aqueducts, reservoirs and tunnels.
Remarkable network of historic waterways
Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, says: “The Canal & River Trust cares for a remarkable network of historic waterways which are still working just as they were designed to 200 years ago. Keeping them open and safe requires a huge amount of planning, investment and craftsmanship and involves a wide range of experts, from civil engineers and hydrologists to heritage experts and ecologists.
“This winter we are spending £45 million on essential repairs and restorations and routine maintenance to our canals and rivers. By showcasing this work to the public we can give them a glimpse of the craftsmanship of the waterways' original 18th Century design and the scale of the work we do to care for it. We hope this will inspire more people to get involved to enjoy and help support their local canal or river navigation.”