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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
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Download your free guides
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Find a walk near you
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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
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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 have confirmed that canoeists are now able to navigate Ashford Tunnel on the historic Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal subject to taking some basic, but important, safety precautions.
This means people will no longer have to leave the canal and walk around the 375-yard tunnel, which is near Talybont-on-Usk, before continuing their journey along one of the most popular parts of the network for canoeists.
All tunnels on Canal & River Trust waterways have been risk assessed to establish their suitability for use by unpowered craft. Canoeists wishing to use tunnels that are open to them, such as Ashford, have to follow some simple rules to reduce the risk of incidents. These include checking the tunnel is clear of other craft before entering, wearing a forward facing bright white light and a personal floatation device with attached whistle. They are also asked not attempt to use the tunnel alone.
The decision follows extensive discussions between the Trust, private boaters, commercial boat operators, canoe groups and Canoe Wales who have been working together to improve safety for all users of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.
Sophie Cockayne, health and safety advisor at the Canal & River Trust, said: “This stretch of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is popular with canoeists and other boating groups including commercial boat companies nearby.
“Having discussed the issue of mixed-use of the Ashford Tunnel extensively with all parties, including powered boat operators, we have arrived at a practical solution that enables canoeists to navigate through it. We will review how it is used at a regular group meeting to ensure suitable safety standards are maintained.
“Our general advice to canoeists is to not to paddle through long tunnels, because it can be dangerous. We rarely make exceptions to this. At tunnels such as Ashford we insist on canoeists ensuring they have the correct equipment and always be vigilant about boat movement.”
The change of use at Ashford Tunnel is now in effect following installation of updated signs.
Ashley Charlwood, representing Canoe Wales, adds: “Using the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is a great paddle, but there are some key considerations for those transiting the Ashford tunnel. Canoe Wales expect paddlers to share the canal responsibly with other users at all times. In the tunnel it is important that these simple safety steps are adhered to. A head torch and whistle are cheap, easily worn and if paddling the tunnel should be adopted as ‘normal’ in the same way as wearing a personal floatation device on all waters. The message is clear 'no light or whistle? Do not paddle the tunnel'.”
Try canal boating at Drifters national open day
22 March 2018
Heritage transport plaque awarded to Froghall Basin on Caldon Canal
'Plasberg' eyesore removed from River Aire
Local people sought to help care for the Grantham Canal
20 March 2018
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
15 March 2018