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

Volunteering on the towpath

Volunteering on the towpath is a great way to get outside, get some exercise, meet new friends and really make a difference to your community.

Volunteering by the canal Volunteering by the canal

Waterways always need practical maintenance, development and restoration. This means being outside and getting some physical exercise. It does not always mean shovels, pick axes and litter pickers but it can mean using trowels, brushes and measuring equipment for archaeological digs; piling logs to make an otter holt; using chainsaws and strimmers to clear the heavier overgrowth; wearing waders to plant reeds.

A great way to get a taste of this is through our ongoing Towpath Taskforce activities. Take a look and find out what your local team is up to this month.

Volunteer Lock Keepers

Lock keepers have been a fixture on Britain’s canals for hundreds of years. While some duties remain the same, today’s lock keepers don’t have as difficult a time as their early predecessors who had to haul heavy lock gates open by hand, defend themselves against river pirates and fight off toll thieves. The role of the volunteer lock keeper is now to provide a polite and friendly welcome to waterway visitors, assist boaters through locks and help maintain the lock area. Find out more about being a volunteer lock keeper

Evelyn's story

Watch the video to find out why Evelyn and a team of like-minded volunteers regularly tidy the towpaths. Video footage courtesy of the NCVO. You can watch similar videos on the NCVO YouTube channel

Last date edited: 5 August 2015