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.
We're appealing for people to report sightings of herons in an effort to gauge the health of the waterway ecosystems they rely on
Sitting at the top of the food chain, population numbers of grey herons (ardea cinerea) depend on their being able to find enough food – largely fish, frogs and small mammals. They can be negatively affected by poor water quality.
The distinctive birds are the second largest in the UK, after only mute swans, and can be seen all over the country.
Dr Mark Robinson, ecologist at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Herons are one of the most majestic sights on our waterways, and they’re also a sign that all is well with the ecosystems they rely on. While we’re constantly monitoring our water quality, with people’s help we can get another insight into the health of wildlife around the waterways.
“As adult birds face no natural predators, they’re the kings of the canals, and take their pick of fish, amphibians and small mammals around the waterways, even gobbling up the odd duckling. Large numbers of herons usually mean healthy, thriving canals and rivers, as they’re natural barometers of water quality, fish stocks and much more – even down to the insect and invertebrate populations that feed their prey. Equally, if there are areas without many sightings, we can have a look into if there are any reasons they might be being put off.
“Whenever you spot a heron it’s a real stop and stare moment, and is one of the experiences that make spending time on our waterways so special. By reporting your sighting through the Great Nature Watch app, you can also help us make sure they’re drawn back to our canals and rivers for many years to come.”
There are believed to be around 13,000 breeding pairs of herons in the UK, nesting in large communal groups known as ‘heronries’. There’s believed to be a long term trend of gradually increasing numbers of herons in the country, and although populations can still be adversely affected by harsh winters, widespread improvements in water quality and reduced levels of persecution are supporting the species’ growth.
Sightings can be submitted by downloading our free mobile app, eNatureWatch (or search Canal & River Trust in the Apple App Store /Google Play Store). Anyone can take part and record as many sightings as they like between now and the end of September.
Take part in the Great Nature Watch
Tell us what you've been spotting down by the water
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Heritage transport plaque awarded to Froghall Basin on Caldon Canal
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