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.
Restoration of the Sankey Canal, Britain’s first industrial canal, is set to get a major boost thanks to the new Sankey Canal Partnership, to be formally launched at a conference at the World of Glass, St Helens, on Wednesday 27 September.
The Sankey Canal Restoration Society, the Canal & River Trust, plus St Helens, Warrington and Halton borough councils, have all come together to pledge their support for the regeneration of the 14 mile Sankey Canal corridor. The man-made waterway begins in St Helens and runs through Newton-le-Willows, Winwick, Warrington and ends at Spike Island in Widnes, where it connects into the River Mersey.
Opened in 1757, the Sankey pre-dates the Bridgewater Canal by four years and was built primarily to carry coal from the Lancashire coalfields to the growing port of Liverpool. Its construction and later extensions led to the birth of the chemical industry on the banks of the Mersey at Widnes.
The canal is remarkable for featuring Britain’s first staircase lock and first viaduct crossing of a canal by a railway – George Stephenson’s original line from Liverpool to Manchester.
After canal cargoes declined in the early 20th century, the Sankey was officially closed in 1963. Today much of the canal remains in water but the navigation is now severed by the M62 motorway, several roads, a footbridge and a railway line.
In the 21st century the canal route has been successfully re-invented as the Sankey Valley Trail, converting almost the entire length of the former towpath into a long-distance, off-road footpath suitable for cyclists, walkers, prams and wheelchairs. Thriving boat clubs operate at the two locks into the River Mersey at Fiddlers Ferry and Spike Island, and the trail is popular with a wide range of groups and individuals from anglers to dog-walkers.
The Sankey Canal Restoration Society (SCARS) was formed in 1985 with the aim of returning the canal to navigation. Since then hundreds of volunteers have donated many hours to renovating locks and bridges, and improving pathways. The borough councils of St Helens, Warrington and Halton have also played a major role delivering improvement projects in their own areas.
Now we have joined forces with the three councils and SCARS to form the Sankey Canal Partnership.
Partnership Chairman Lady Kirsty Pilkington explained: "At the conference, the five organisations will pledge to develop the Sankey Canal and promote economic regeneration, health and prosperity for the benefit of all who live and work along its route. We know from canal restorations that have taken place in other parts of the country, this is a proven way to enrich people’s lives and re-invigorate communities."
Chantelle Seaborn, our NW Waterway Manager commented: "Canals were once the motorways of their day but now two centuries later they are undergoing a wonderful renaissance as peaceful havens for people and wildlife, away from the bustle of modern urban life.
“The Sankey Canal offers huge potential to drive forward economic prosperity, health and well-being. The long-term aspiration is for full restoration of the route. However this will take time and funding. While we work towards this vision, we will continue to regenerate the canal corridor, to share its heritage and encourage more people to use their local green gym!
"The Partnership will be carrying out surveys and further consultations in preparation for funding bids which would enable the canal’s restoration to be delivered in phases."
For more information about volunteering on the Sankey Canal, please contact SCARS. Email: email@example.com or telephone 01744 731746. Website: www.sankeycanal.co.uk
Make a difference in your area
In our offices or on the towpath, volunteers help us with all aspects of our work to bring canals and rivers to life. Find a role that suits you today
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