Spending time by water makes people feel happier and healthier, and is particularly beneficial over the cold, dark days of winter.
If you wrap up warm and brave the outdoors there are all sorts of sights and sounds to enjoy as well as physical and mental improvements that can be gained.
Go for a walk every day
You don’t have to trek the longest canal in the UK (the Grand Union Canal – 137 miles between London and Birmingham) as even a short 10-minute power walk can give you a boost.
Keep your eyes open
We have over 1,000 wildlife conservation sites and 63 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, so you never know what you might spot whilst you’re on the towpath. Look out for water voles, otters, kingfishers, and of course the festive robin.
Spread some festive joy
Say hello to people you pass and everyone will feel that little bit better. If making new friends is one of your new year resolutions then why not volunteer to help care for your local canal.
Take your camera
Whatever you spot on your walks, get a pic and enter it into our winter photography competition. There are many prizes up for grabs and all types of photos are eligible – from classic wintry scenes to candid wildlife shots.
Learn as you go
Our canals are an important piece of the country’s industrial heritage and hold many reminders of days gone by. You can learn about some of our historic structures – including 1,580 locks, 2,988 bridges and 335 aqueducts – online before setting off and then share the stories and facts as you go along.
Jon Horsfall, head of customer service support at the Trust, said: “The winter weather and hustle and bustle of the festive season can really take it out of us mentally and physically, but fortunately there’s a simple solution right on the doorsteps of millions of people – your local canal.
“Simply getting out and spending time by the water is a great first step in improving your wellbeing, and if you add on all the associated benefits – such as getting a break from TV and mobile screens, connecting with nature, spending time with loved ones – a stroll along the towpath is the perfect Christmas present.”