We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Volunteer lock keepers

Could you help us out during the busy summer boating season? Find out more about becoming a volunteer lock keeper, a really important role which is steeped in history and tradition.

Two volunteer lock keepers stood by a lock Volunteer lock keepers at Braunston

Lock keepers have been working on Britain's canals for hundreds of years, although the role has changed over time. These days our volunteer lock keepers help us to look after our beautiful waterways, assist boaters, welome visitors and maintain our historic locks.

"Working outdoors and staying fit have been a key incentive for people, as has a sense of pride in knowing they’re helping protect our 250 year old working heritage." Ed Moss, national volunteering manager

Facts and figures

  • In 2015 we recruited 700 volunteer lock keepers at over 70 different sites
  • We estimate our volunteer lock keepers spoke to 11,000 people each week, on boats and on the towpath
  • We care for 1,654 historic locks all over the country
  • Read this information sheet about the role
  • Take a look at the dedicated websites kept up-to-date by our volunteer lock keepers at Hillmorton Locks and Foxton Locks

Get outdoors, get active and help preserve heritage

Edd Moss, national volunteering manager for the Canal & River Trust said: “As a new charity we were heartened by the amazing support we received for this role last year.

"Working outdoors and staying fit have been a key incentive for people, as has a sense of pride in knowing they’re helping protect our 250 year old working heritage. It’s extremely important to us that we offer volunteers something appealing where they feel like they’re making a difference, which this role certainly does. "

The focus of the role is helping people. Recent research into the achievements of the volunteer lock keepers at Audlem on the Shropshire Union Canal has shown the value that they add to local businesses, local people, passing boaters and towpath visitors, principally in making connections between them all. Thank you!

  • Ideally we ask for at least a day a week's commitment over the summer season
  • Most sites involve working in pairs although there is some working alone
  • Most sites involve other day to day tasks which may include painting, snipping back overgrowth or litter picking. Each site is different so it depends on local needs

If you're a Continuous Cruiser and travel around but are keen to be a volunteer lock keeper, this is possible. To find out more, email volunteer@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Interested?

Our volunteer lock keeper recruitment for the 2016 season is now open, click here to find a site near you: volunteering search or click on a link from the list below.

Last date edited: 8 April 2016