At the height of the Industrial Revolution thousands of miles of canal were built to transport goods and raw materials around the country.

Our canals were the envy of the world, and helped to establish Britain as an industrial powerhouse. However, after years of neglect, many became derelict. We are campaigning to restore the country’s lost waterways and by getting involved with your local restoration group, you could help 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

Tireless efforts

Thanks to the tireless efforts and dedication of thousands of volunteers, 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.

Below you can explore current and potential restorations in your local area and also see how the canal network has changed over time.

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.”

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 hand side of this page to find out more about how you can get involved.

Last date edited: 18 January 2019