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.
Abseilers gave a facelift to a historic Wiltshire canal landmark this week, as we used a specialist rope team to spruce-up the two centuries-old Bruce Tunnel on the Kennet & Avon Canal
Lowering people down by rope is the only way to prevent ivy, moss, weeds and young saplings getting into the masonry joints and damaging the impressive structure, which is the longest tunnel on the whole length of the canal.
Also known as Savernake Tunnel, after the forest it runs beneath, the structure will celebrate its 205th birthday this year, and is one of the historic highlights of the Kennet & Avon Canal. At 500 yards long, it was built when the local landowner, Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, then Earl of Ailesbury, refused to allow the canal company to mar the view from his nearby home. Rather than having a flight of locks take the waterway over the hill, the Earl instead insisted that the great canal engineer John Rennie adapt the plans and construct a tunnel.
Earl Ailesbury was a prominent courtier at the time, serving as treasurer to Queen Charlotte, having previously been King George III’s Lord of the Bedchamber. A plaque at the tunnel’s eastern portal commemorates its construction and the ‘uniform and effectual Support’ of the Earl.
David Viner, heritage advisor at the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Bruce Tunnel is the longest tunnel on the Kennet & Avon Canal, and a fantastic historical site to have right at the canal’s summit. These kinds of works are essential to taking care of it. Left to the elements, woody plants and climbers like ivy would do considerable damage to the brickwork over time.
“The tunnel itself is a classic example of early NIMBYism, where the Earl was clearly only worried about his view. It certainly would have made life harder for those making their way along the waterway- there’s no towpath in the tunnel, so before motors were invented boats would have had to be ‘poled’ or ‘legged’ through the tunnel, with people stretched out on boards on either side of the boat using their feet to guide it through. The upside of course is that we’re left with a fantastic heritage structure.”
To find out more about the history of the canals, visit https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/history.
Breach of the Middlewich Branch, Shropshire Union Canal
16 March 2018
Heritage transport plaque awarded to Froghall Basin on Caldon Canal
15 March 2018
Artists launch ambitious cultural programme in Worcester
12 March 2018
Fradley event gives fascinating insight into our feathered friends
We're calling for boaters to take part in our 'boat owners views survey'
9 March 2018
Take a 'lock' behind the ‘Seends’ of the Kennet & Avon Canal
Gender pay gap statement published
8 March 2018
We're announcing changes to boat licensing
6 March 2018