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Waterways of Britain

Rivers, Canals & Streams

Peaceful, beautiful and full of life - Britains waterways are a wonderful place to visit or live. Amongst some of Britains most beautiful and tranquil hidden countryside flow rivers and canals that are guaranteed to take you away from it all.

Grand Union Canal - Aylesbury Arm
Grand Union Canal - Aylesbury Arm

Rivers and streams or burns and brooks, whatever you call them our waterways are packed with wildlife. Waterways and their basins are vital places to UK wildlife. From the more common mallard ducks, coots and moorhens and majestic swans to the stunning kingfisher and the rarely seen otters. Butterflies, damsel-flies and dragonflies dot the towpaths and river banks. The water itself provides the perfect environment for fish, animals and plants, such as our native Crayfish.

The UK's canals remind us of our rich industrial heritage. And now are a place where we can experience or live a more leisurely pace of life. If you're not on board a colourful narrowboat there is plenty of scope for activity on the canals as well as wildlife spotting. The generally flat and well kept towpaths are perfect for a walk or invigorating cycle ride.

Fleetwith Pike Stream, Cumbria
Fleetwith Pike Stream, Cumbria


Directory Listings

Hand Picked & Reviewed

Rivers of the United Kingdom
Index of the longest rivers in the UK with linked pages containing extensive details of each at Wikipedia.

Canal & River Trust
Charity who looks after and bring to life 2,000 miles of waterways. A goldmine of information helping you enjoy the waterways.

Inland Waterways Association
A membership charity that works to protect and restore the country's 6,500 miles of canals and rivers.

River Access for All
Group of ordinary canoeists who work to gain recognition that there is, and always has been, a public right of navigation on our rivers.

UK Rivers Network
Helping communities to love and care for their rivers. With news updates, an events diary, river walks and cycle rides, and educational pages.

The River Restoration Centre
Offers technical advice and information on specific projects as well as general river restoration related advice.

The Rivers Trust
Works to protect, promote and enhance our river environment, for both people and wildlife. Find your local group.

Freshwater Habitats Trust
UK based charity working to conserve freshwater wildlife for everyone to enjoy.

Freshwater Biological Association
Advancing understanding and sustainable management of fresh waters. Promoting freshwater biology and the sound and sustainable management of freshwater systems.

Open Canal Map
Open Canal Map comes in three flavors: Google Maps overlay, Android app and iPhone/iPad app.

OS Open Rivers
If you need a high-level view of watercourses in Great Britain, OS Open Rivers is for you, and it's completely free.

Freshwater - The Wildlife Trust
The rain-soaked lands of Britain and Northern Ireland are rich in rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, canals and ditches...

Scottish Canals
Scottish Canals are in charge of the five canals in Scotland.

Waterfalls of the United Kingdom
This is a links page to the named waterfalls found in the UK, and includes a list of the highest waterfalls.

Canal & River Trust Open Data
Detailing such features as all aqueducts, bridges, canals, weirs, reservoirs and much more...

Sponsored Listings

CoolStays on Houseboats, by Rivers, Lakes & Canals

Get away from it all in tranquil countryside staying on a houseboat or narrowboat or in a self-catering property beside river or lake

Stream into Buttermere, Cumbria
Stream into Buttermere, Cumbria

Latest Waterways News

  • Clean air strategy: response

    We have responded to the Department for Transport's call for evidence on air pollutant emissions from domestic vessels and inland waterways. Our response includes our updated environmental ...

  • New waterway campaigning resource

    A new resource is available to waterway campaigners engaging with MPs across all waterways in England, Scotland and Wales.Our new IWA Directory of Parliamentary Constituencies with Waterways ...

  • Jeremy’s Christmas Message 2019

    In 2019 we’ve worked with partners all over the country to protect freshwater wildlife. All of our work aims to protect the best freshwater habitats – many of which are still declining in quality – and return clean water to the countryside, tackling head-on the freshwater biodiversity crisis. We’re especially concerned about small waters – The […]

  • EPCN Conference, London 18-22 May 2020

    The 9th European Pond Conservation Network (EPCN) conference will be held over 18-22rd May 2020 at University College London (UCL), London, UK. Responding to the considerable need to conserve European ponds, the conference will combine pond biology, hydrology and landscape ecology with pond conservation practice and welcomes both scientists and conservation practitioners to […]

  • Scottish Canals’ Operations Consultation

    All boaters who use the Lowland Canals in Scotland are encouraged to respond to Scottish Canals’ consultation about user operation on the Forth & Clyde and Union canals. The Lowland Canal ...

  • IWA announces new Chairman

    Following a Trustee meeting on Saturday 16th November, Paul Rodgers has been elected as the Association's new National Chairman with immediate effect. Paul succeeds outgoing National Chairman, ...

  • Final Family Camp success

    Despite howling winds and torrential rain, four intrepid families, with seven children between them, braved our final Family Canal Camp of the year over the October half term. The weekend was ...

  • Coping with flooding on canals & rivers

    Winter boat sinkings on canals and rivers are often the result of flooding causing rapidly rising and falling water levels. .. More The post Coping with flooding on canals & rivers appeared first on Canal & Waterway News and Features.

  • Value of inland waterways report

    As part of our work to protect and restore the country's 6,500 miles of inland waterways, we have launched a new resource to help influence planners and policy makers by proving the value of the ...

  • First Silver Propeller Challenge finishers

    Last week our Silver Propeller Challenge was completed for the first time since its launch last year. The intrepid couple who were the first across the finish line were a husband and wife team, ...

  • Nature inspires a flood alleviation solution

    A Natural Flood Management scheme on the River Leck, designed to work with nature by emulating naturally occurring woody debris, could help protect a north Buckinghamshire community at risk of flooding from a swollen river. Twenty five ‘leaky dams’ are being built in the headwaters of the River Leck, a tributary of the River Great The post Nature inspires a flood […]

  • Why do canal boats breakdown and sink?

    River Canal Rescue in 2019 attended an average of 105 call-outs a week. 18 of these were for major rescues .. More The post Why do canal boats breakdown and sink? appeared first on Canal & Waterway News and Features.

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