Adoptions FAQs

Got a question about our canal and river adoptions? Check out our FAQs.

Why do we offer canal adoptions?

Adopting a section of canal is a great way for groups to get out and active, making a real difference to the waterways near you. We want to see our waterways being enjoyed by local communities, adoption groups do just that.

What is a canal adoption?

It’s an informal partnership with us, where a group of people help look after and celebrate a specific stretch of our waterways. It’s not about doing everything like the mowing and repairing locks though, it’s about planning activity with us. That might start small with some litter picking and painting and grow to include running fishing taster days and creating seating areas. The amount of area in an adoption can vary depending on the location.

What do I need to do to adopt a canal?

You need to have a look at our online map and work out where the best canal is to adopt for your group. It might be a good idea to talk to your group about the idea, you could take a walk and chat about the things you would like to do. The next step is to get in touch with us by filling in the expression of interest form.

Do I need any special equipment to adopt a canal?

Not to start with, although some basic things like litter pickers and brooms are handy. We will plan activities together dependant on your groups abilities and resources.

How many people do I need to get involved?

You need to be part of a group, because willing helpers are essential. Six to ten people are a good start. You don’t need to be constituted or a formal group but you do need a name and a lead contact.

Will my group be insured?

If the activity you are doing is planned and carried out as planned, then you are insured by Canal & River Trust. However, many groups do have their own insurance and if you undertake activities on land not owned by us you will need separate insurance.

How long can I adopt a canal for?

Community and Helping Hands Adoptions are for 12 months, then we review and renew your adoption. Pocket adoptions are for five or more days.

How much time is required of me?

Once a month for both the Community and Helping Hands, this could be a practical activity on site but it could also be giving a presentation to a school group or running a guided walk. A Pocket Adoption could be intensively done in a couple of weeks or spread over a few months.

Does it cost money to adopt a stretch of canal?

No, unless you are a commercial business.

What if my local stretch of canal has been adopted this year already?

It’s probably worth having a chat with us, you might be able to get involved with the existing group or look at a slightly different stretch.

Fancy finding out more from the groups that are already doing it?

Have a look at all the existing adoptions and some case studies        

Last date edited: 11 January 2021