Why restore the waterways?

Now for a bit of history...for sixty years, from the late 18th century onwards, Britain's inland waterways system expanded to link the country's rivers, ports, cities and industrial heartlands.  Then, with the beginning of the Railway Age, the days of roaring prosperity for the waterways were gone forever with finance being diverted to build railways.  Those canals that survived the onslaught did so by cutting their tolls to a minimum, meaning that there was little money avaliable to enlarge or improve the waterways, and they slipped slowly into decay.  By the 20th century, the decline was accelerating with many waterways being abandoned and altogether disappearing from sight - they looked set to become part of history.

Luckily, by the 1940s a few visionaries realised that canals did have a future - for pleasure boating, recreation, and industrial archaeology.  Since then, hundreds of miles of canals and river navigations have been saved from dereliction and gradually more and more miles are being brought back to life by volunteer groups around the country.  Today, Britain's network of canals and inland waterways are a huge linear national park - a leisure park, a vital wildlife sanctuary, an important industrial heritage site and an environment-friendly transport system all rolled into one.  Despite this there are still over 2500 miles of derelict waterways and that's were we need your help.

Positive Benefits

Research has shown that the restoration of waterways can bring economic, social and environmental benefits to an area. Find out more here.

Save our Waterways
Every year 10 million people visit Britain's canals and inland waterways.  People go to walk, cruise, fish or watch wildlife as well as enjoying the wonderful scenery and tranquility of times gone by but many waterways still need to be saved... 

Get involved today!