Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
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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
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Download your free guides
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Find a walk near you
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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.
Volunteer lock keeper Ian Kelshaw shares his experiences on the Rochdale Canal and Calder & Hebble Navigation, and the challenges full time staff and their helpers face following the floods.
Ian Kelshaw joined the Trust as a volunteer lock keeper after he retired from his job as a technical sales engineer. He’s been helping with the aftermath of the floods at Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and surrounding villages. “I’m a canal person now,” he says. “It just grabs me.”
What’s your involvement with the Canal and River Trust?I volunteer at Sowerby Bridge, the deepest lock in England, assisting the full-time lock keeper. When the season ended I said I’d be happy to do more, so the Trust asked me to look after locks 19-25 and see what needed doing. So before Christmas, we walked along the towpath from the summit to Todmorden, then on another day from Todmorden to Hebden, noting down what needed to be done with a view to doing that in the New Year.
That could have been bad timing…Luckily we hadn’t started because events overtook us. I was away over the holidays so I came back to see what had happened. You can’t walk the towpaths now because they’re cordoned off for safety reasons. In places they were washed away, or collapsed. I met a guy yesterday who was measuring the towpath and he showed me a short stretch that was all cracked and moving towards the canal and he said it hadn’t been like that on Monday. The damage isn’t finished yet, it’s ongoing and the full extent hasn’t revealed itself yet. We’re waiting to be called in to assist wherever we can.
What have you been doing since the flood?Along with other volunteers I’ve put up fencing to make the area safe. Next, there will be a lull while they assess the damage. They’re getting materials and equipment together and then we’ll be called upon to help.
How did you start volunteering?I’ve been volunteering since May. I saw an ad on the TV and thought it sounded interesting. I applied, joined, did the training and I love it. I genuinely love it. Why? Being outside, finding out about the history, helping people, seeing that occasionally you’re making a difference. You feel a sense of achievement. There’s a hell of a lot of locks on this stretch and boats come thick and fast. It’s 36 miles to Manchester and there are 92 locks, to give you a sense of the work that’s involved.
Would you say you’re a canal person now?Yes, I would. I just enjoy walking on the canal – it grabs me. Even when I was away over the holidays I was wishing I could help.
Last date edited: 4 March 2016