Take a stroll along a towpath on a summer's day and your head and heart will be soothed by the tranquillity of the environment, and the profusion of flowers that blossom along these watery corridors.
Canal and garden lovers also have the chance to get inspired at two of the biggest gardening events of the year, as both Chelsea Flower Show (21-25 May) and Gardeners' World Live (13-16 June) have canal-themed gardens.
Matthew Symonds, relationship, policy and strategy manager at Canal & River Trust, said: “Walk along any towpath and you'll come across a boat or a garden that lifts your spirits with its beautiful blooms. We want more people to feel the benefits of being by the water, and summer is the perfect time to see the waterways bursting with colour and life.
“Plants don't just look pretty – flowers provide food for bees and butterflies, fruit trees feed animals and people alike, while tended spaces fend off weeds. Gardening can also make a tremendous difference to forgotten spaces, transforming unloved areas into somewhere special to come and sit for a while. There are some fantastic community gardens strung out along the canals, breathing life into city centres, and providing a place where local people can make a real difference to both the waterways and their own wellbeing.
“This summer we'd love people to come along and discover the secret – and not-so secret – gardens of the towpaths, admire the floating floral displays found on so many boats, and let other people know about the blooming brilliant towpaths by joining in and sharing photos celebrating blooms by the water.”