News article created on 3 March 2021

Volunteer 'Lock angels' needed in Wales & South West

We're looking for volunteers to give some of their time as lock keepers at Llangynidr on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Bath and at the Caen Hill Flight.

Chris volunteer lock keeper Chris, volunteer lock keeper

Lock keepers have kept Britain’s canals working smoothly for centuries and are one of the oldest traditions of the waterways. In the 21st century the role is also known as ‘face of the waterway’. Once described by happy boaters on the Kennet & Avon Canal as ‘lock angels’ they provide a friendly welcome, as they help boaters through the sometimes unfamiliar task of navigating the locks.

On the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal the volunteer lock keepers will look after the five locks at Llangynidr. Dating back to the late 1700s the locks take the canal along a gentle tree-lined slope.  As well as helping boaters, volunteer lock keepers keep this picturesque location looking its very best – including removing litter and managing vegetation.

At the Caen Hill Flight, on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Devizes the volunteer role is slightly different. From April to October the locks are still welcoming boats up until 8pm. So, the we're is looking for evening volunteer lock keepers to keep the flight running safely during the summer evenings. It’s a chance to get involved in the running of a ‘wonder of the waterways’ while enjoying the stunning countryside at sunset.

It’s a perfect opportunity for anyone who enjoys being outdoors and likes meeting people, as the Trust’s volunteer development co-ordinator Steve Manzi explains: "Our locks attract a lot of interest from boaters moving through them as well as curious onlookers on the towpath. So, volunteer lock keepers play a key role. They are ambassadors for the charity, providers of information, and a safe pair of hands to guide boats through the locks. 

"This is a great opportunity for anyone looking for something a bit different. All we ask for are enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. The Canal & River Trust will give you all the training you need and you’ll soon be out on the canal, learning new skills and loving your life with the locks."

Get involved

We welcome applications from anyone over 18 and able to spare at least one day a week. No experience is needed, just a ‘can-do’ attitude and a willingness to get involved. After an induction and training the roles start fully in April and run through to October.