England and Wales are criss-crossed by thousands of miles of derelict canals and we want you to go out, rediscover them and get involved with your local restoration groups to bring these much-needed spaces back to life.

Restoration and repair site on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Restoration and repair site on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

At the height of the Industrial Revolution, thousands of miles of canals were built to transport goods and raw materials around the country. They were the envy of the world and helped to establish Britain as an industrial powerhouse.

Sadly over time, with the growth of road and rail, sections of the network fell into decline and were almost lost completely but for the intervention of dedicated and visionary volunteers in the mid-1900s.

Tireless efforts

Thanks to the tireless efforts of restoration trusts and societies, over 200 miles of canals have been restored since the turn of the millennium. These restorations have brought prosperity to communities, boosted property prices and helped local people to lead active, healthy lifestyles.

We want more people to appreciate the importance of these historic canals and play their part in supporting and championing the heroic efforts of local canal restoration groups. Use the links on the right side of this page to find out more about how you can get involved.

Tony Robinson supports restoration

Sir Tony Robinson stood by canalSir Tony Robinson is getting behind our campaign to restore the nation's lost waterways. he says: “The waterway network is part of the fabric of our nation but it’s easy to forget that not so very long ago some of our most popular canals were almost lost forever.  

“The fact that we can still enjoy them now is thanks largely to the vision, dedication and sheer hard work of volunteers in the 60s and 70s. These inspiring men and women just wouldn’t take no for an answer and worked on the basis that nothing was impossible. We need to recapture that same spirit within our communities to support today’s volunteers in bringing more of these once proud waterways back to life.”

Last date edited: 6 June 2018