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.
Come and join the greatest long distance water party ever staged in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside. The Leeds & Liverpool Canal Bicentenary celebrations reach a high point this month as the historic short boat Kennet re-creates the inaugural ceremonial journey 127 miles across the Pennines from Leeds to Liverpool.
Organised by the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society, which runs Kennet as an education boat, and supported by the Trust, the epic voyage will be a culmination of a year of festivities and celebrations in honour of the 200 anniversary of England’s longest canal.
Brass bands, 12 mayors, flotillas of boats, peels of church bells, hundreds of school children and crowds of well-wishers are expected to greet the boat as it makes its stately progress through Yorkshire, Lancashire and Merseyside, past mills and moorland, through Bingley, Skipton, Burnley, Blackburn, Chorley, Wigan, Burscough and some of the country’s most spectacular scenery.
Flotillas “decorated with flags and streamers”, accompanied by “hearty cheering of immense assemblage of spectators” greeted the original ceremonial boat journey in October 1816. That trip lasted only five days but this month the Canal Society crew will take a more leisurely pace so more people can celebrate in daylight hours, leaving Leeds on Saturday 15 October and arriving in Liverpool nine days later on Sunday 23 October.
Chantelle Seaborn, local waterway manager with the Trust, said: "This epic boat journey is a wonderful way to mark the 200th anniversary of one of the most significant waterways in Britain. The opening of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal played a key role in Britain’s Industrial Revolution and encouraged the development of the textile industries in Lancashire and West Yorkshire.
"Today there are fewer industries along its banks, but the canal still brings many benefits of leisure, tourism, nature and regeneration to the communities along its route. There is tremendous pride in our wonderful heritage and we are delighted so many towns, cities, schools and organisations have come forward to be part of this incredible long distance celebration."
The original five day journey in 1816 represented a triumph of grit and determination for getting the job done. There were numerous debates about the exact route of the canal. Construction began in 1770 at either end and by 1777 the canal was open from Leeds to Gargrave and from Liverpool to Parbold. At this stage the money ran out and worked stopped until 1790. The route was then altered to take in the growing industrial towns of East Lancashire but it was not until 1816 that the last section between Wigan and Johnson’s Hillock, near Chorley, was finished, finally creating a trans-Pennine link between the two great cities.
In its heyday, the canal carried cotton, coal, wool, limestone, sugar and other vital commodities through the rapidly expanding industrial communities of Lancashire and Yorkshire. From the Second World War onwards, it suffered declining cargo traffic and narrowly escaped closure in the 1970s. Two hundred years on, the canal is still cherished but now as an oasis for wildlife, a thriving centre for tourism, recreation and leisure and a catalyst for regeneration.
For a list of the destinations the 'Kennet' will be taking in on its trip leaving Leeds on Saturday 15 October, and arriving in Liverpool nine days later on Sunday 23 October, visit Kennet 2016 celebration cruise timetable .
For more details about the bicentenary celebrations visit Leeds & Liverpool bicentenary
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