The charity making life better by water

Encouraging communities to explore Yorkshire’s canals by rail

With spring just around the corner, a successful initiative to inspire people to use the rail network and enjoy waterside walks along Yorkshire’s magnificent and historic canals has been expanded.

Three people standing by a canal holding leaflets on a cold icy sunny day

In 2021, we teamed up up with rail company Northern to introduce signs and maps at five Yorkshire stations, guiding people to walks along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. This initiative was introduced to encourage people to explore more of Yorkshire's loveliest walking routes easily accessible by train.

Together with Northern and Calder Valley Line Community Rail Partnership, we have installed large-scale signage at five more Yorkshire stations which sit alongside the Rochdale Canal at Halifax, Todmorden, Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd. And leaflets are also available in the stations signposting people to nearby waterway walks so they can experience the feel-good factor of spending time by water.

Download walking leaflets

The benefits of being by water

Nicola Christian, our business and corporate engagement partner, said: “Recent research shows that spending time by canals is proven to have significant wellbeing benefits. As well as the obvious health benefits of walking, visiting a towpath or waterside spot can make people happier, enabling them to relax and take time away from life's stresses, as well as connecting with wildlife and enjoying quality time with family and friends.

“When visiting a canal, you may have noticed that there is often a railway close by. So, using the railway network offers a greener way to travel and explore our 250-year-old canals, connecting these fantastic linear routes that are easily accessible for all.”

Making a positive impact

Tony Baxter, Regional Director at Northern, said: “Our vision is to make a positive impact in the north of England and we are delighted to be working with Canal & River Trust to encourage our customers to get outside.”

Tony added: “It's so easy to access our canals and rivers by train – but not that many people know just how easy it is. The new maps and signage show off some the best beauty spots and will inspire people to get outside and walk by the waterside.”

Sustainable and healthy travel

Karen Hornby, of Calder Valley Line Community Rail Partnership, said: “We are delighted to have Canal & River Trust as one of our partners. The Calder Valley Line Community Rail Partnership works with local communities, businesses, local people and tourism organisations to encourage people to be involved in their local railway and use train services. The key priorities of our partnership is to provide a voice for the community, promote sustainable and healthy travel, bringing communities together, support diversity and inclusion and support social and economic development.”

Kingfisher in flight with small fish in its beak

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Last Edited: 24 March 2023

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