Canal & Waterway Volunteers and Societies

The efforts of thousands of volunteers have been vital to the regeneration of UK waterways as thriving leisure developments which has gone on since the mid twentieth century. Equally vital to the effectiveness of those efforts has been the coordination and management provided by the many non-government societies and associations which have grown up during that period.

Most canals and waterway heritage projects now have their own Societies dedicated to their maintenance, promotion, operation and/or restoration. The Inland Waterways Association has played a major role in coordinating and supporting the work of the waterways societies. The Waterways Recovery Group have supported restoration projects across England and Wales providing labour, expertise and equipment through residential camps and shorter periods. The Canal and River Trust when it took over from British Waterways was set up with the intention that volunteers would have an important role to play in the everyday running of the canals and heritage facilities, using the work of the canal societies and trusts as a model for future developments.

We list canal societies and all heritage groups free of charge, please go to our Listing Form and click on the Canal Societies tab.

Links to Canal Societies and their aims
Basingstoke Canal Our vision is to create an accessible waterway serving the public, unlock the potential economic contribution of the Canal and its corridor and become a focal point for increased community and volunteer involvement and use.
Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust The B&MK promotes the development of a broad waterway linking the Grand Union Canal in Milton Keynes to the River Great Ouse in Bedford through a series of Waterway Parks.
Birmingham Canal Navigation Society To conserve the 250 years old BCN system, to improve the status of the canals, to educate about the historic and ecological importance of our canals, to encourage the use of the BCN canals.
Boaters Christian Fellowship BCF was formed in 1995 and now has more than 650 members, with more than 300 privately owned boats, although owning a boat is not a condition of membership.
Buckingham Canal Society The Buckingham Canal Society are restoring the Buckingham Canal between Cosgrove and Buckingham Town.
Camden Canals & Narrowboat Association A not-for-profit organisation that runs skippered cruises on ‘Tarporley’, a historic Northwich, for community groups, private parties etc.  Based on Regent’s Canal, Kings Cross, London
CanalAbility With specially adapted canal boats, we provide a boating experience for those who may have mobility difficulties or impairments.  As a charity we make our boats available to those who will benefit from our facilities the most.
Canal Society of New Jersey (USA) The CSNJ is a non-profit organization formed in 1969 to foster the study of the history of New Jersey’s two towpath canals, preserve and restore canal remains and artifacts, educate the public in the canals’ histories and provide enjoyment to its members by visiting canals and other historic sites.
Coombeswood Canal Trust Our aims are to promote the history, structure and beauty, including the restoration, improvement, enhancement, development, maintenance and conservation along the length of the Dudley Number 2 Canal.
Cotswold Canals Trust The Cotswold Canals Trust are working with British Waterways and the Cotswold Canals Partnership to restore the Stroudwater Canal and Thames & Severn Canal through the glorious Cotswold Hills.
Chelmer & Blackwater – Friends of The We are an enthusiastic independent registered charity which aims to protect and enhance the public rights of navigation on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, and the recreational use and enjoyment by the public of the waterway and surrounding conservation area.
Community Boats Association The National Community Boats Association is a charity that provides support to Community Boating Organisations. Its does this primarily through training support but also by representing the interests of the member projects with the Canal and River Trust.
Derby & Sandiacre Canal Society Aiming to restore the Derby Canal as near to its original route as possible thereby enhancing the lives of people resident or visiting the area.
Driffield Navigation Amenities Association It is responsible for the Driffield Navigation which is the waterway extending from the market town of Driffield along the Driffield Canal and then the River Hull southwards as far as Aike.
Foxton Inclined Plane Trust Foxton Inclined Plane Trust, exists to promote the restoration of the Victorian boat lift to full working order. We also run the award winning Foxton Canal Museum at the famous Foxton Locks.
Fourteen locks Canal Centre A newly refurbished cafe and heritage Centre at the top of South Wales historic Fourteen Locks Flight on the lower section of the Mon & Brec Canal. Open 7 Days a week.
Friends of Kennet Support group of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society Short Boat Kennet, which is being refurbished into an interactive museum to take heritage to the communities along the L&L Canal.
Friends of the Delaware Canal (USA) The Friends of the Delaware Canal is an independent, non-profit organization working to restore, preserve, and improve the Delaware Canal and its surroundings. Our primary goals are to ensure the Canal is fully-watered from Easton to Bristol and the towpath trail is usable over its entire length.
Friends of the Montgomery Canal The Friends of the Montgomery Canal are the membership section of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust. They try to encourage the public to take an interest in the canal with many social events and aim for full restoration of the canal taking all aspects into consideration.
Friends of President The coal burning steam narrow-boat President is owned by the Black Country Living Museum, and maintained and operated by ‘Friends of President’.
Grantham Canal Restoration Society Our aim is to open the canal to full navigation, connecting Grantham once again to over 2000 miles of inland navigable waterways. Not only will this provide economic benefits to the town and surrounding district, it will enhance the ecology of the canal and its environs throughout the Vale of Belvoir.
Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust The reconstruction of the full length of the canal from Gloucester to Hereford, a sustainable, fully-navigable waterway and towpath, reconnecting the rural communities between the cities of Hereford and Gloucester, and bringing environmental and economic benefits to both counties as well as recreational opportunities for local people and visitors alike.
Heulwen Trust Heulwen Trust offers disabled people free trips along the “Monty” on weekdays and at weekends we also take the public.  Heulwen are the designated partner of C&RT to maintain our part.  Thursday work group needs volunteers
IWPS Bugsworth Canal Basin Bugsworth Canal Basin at the head of the Peak Forest Canal restored by IWPS volunteers
Kennet & Avon Canal Trust To promote the Kennet and Avon Canal to the benefit of all its users, the communities through which it passes, and its heritage. To be a voice for users of the Kennet and Avon Canal – whether on the water or on the towpath.
Lancaster Canal Trust The Trust promotes the whole canal but its main objective is restoring to navigation, the length of the canal from Tewitfield, just north of Carnforth, to Kendal.
Lapal Canal Trust Our project is the restoration of an urban canal. The Dudley No. 2 Canal was authorised by an act of parliament in 1793. The 12-mile-long canal was built from 1794 to 1798. A remarkable achievement which includes a 60 foot high embankment and a 2.2 mile long tunnel.
Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society The L&LCS has a calendar of events on its web pages, at the moment mainly about Kennet our restored ‘short boat’, but we are happy to list other events. Contact details are on the page.
Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust Our aim or vision is to restore and rebuild both the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals and reconnect them to the national network, thereby creating a green and blue corridor for the benefit of our local and wider community and available for navigation.
Linlithgow Union Canal Society To promote and encourage the restoration and use of the Union Canal, particularly in the vicinity of Linlithgow, based at the Linlithgow Canal Centre.
Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society Restoring the canal through Bolton Bury and Salford to rejoin the national waterways network.
Melton & Oakham Waterways Society Our objective is to maximise the social, economic, environmental and leisure opportunities from the restoration of the Melton Mowbray Navigation and the preservation of the Oakham Canal.
Narrow Boat President Built in 1909, President has been a part of British Waterways History for over 100 Years. Since 1982, President has been owned by the Black Country Living Museum. Friends of President was started in 1984 to support the museum in the operation and maintenance of this historic vessel.
National Canal Museum (U.S.A.) Based in Easton Pa., cradle of the U.S. industrial revolution.
Old Union Canal Society The Old Union Canals Society is dedicated to the promotion and protection of the Leicestershire & Northants Union and the ‘old’ Union Canals, Leicester to Norton Junction. It has its own moorings.
Pocklington Canal Society The Pocklington Canal Amenity Society was formed in 1969, to protect and restore the Pocklington Canal. PCAS works to maintain and restore the canal as a navigable waterway and to raise awareness of its heritage and wildlife for everyone to enjoy.
Pontypridd Canal Conservation Group The Society was formed in 2010 to campaign for the restoration of the very small length of the Glamorganshire Canal remaining in Pontypridd.
Railway & Canal Historical Society National organisation bringing together everyone interested in the history of transport to encourage research into the topic.
Ribble Link Trust To promote the Ribble Link connecting the Lancaster Canal to the River Ribble by canalising the Savick Brook. To promote the fullest use of this waterway by all forms of waterborne traffic along with recreational activities for the benefit of the public.
River Weaver Navigation Society The society is dedicated to preserving, protecting and improving the River Weaver from Winsford to its confluence with the Manchester Ship Canal.
Sankey Navigation Trust The principal aim of the Society is to achieve full restoration of the canal. To this end, the Society actively publicises and promotes the cause of the canal, particularly in the three boroughs through which it runs – Halton (Widnes), Warrington, and St Helens.
Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust The Trust promotes regeneration of the 25-mile canal line from Norbury Junction, on the Shropshire Union Canal, to Shrewsbury.
Shropshire Union Canal Society The Shropshire Union Canal Society was formed to protect and enhance the canals of the historic Shropshire Union system across both England and Wales.
Somersetshire Coal Canal Society The Society is working to restore the canal to navigation and protect the line and structures of the canal for future generations.
South West Herts Narrowboat Project The South West Herts Narrowboat Trust exists to provide a narrowboat for community and youth groups. Formerly The South West Herts Narrowboat Project and registered as an independent UK Charity.
South Pennine Boat club Private Member’s Boat Club, situated on the Calder & Hebble Navigation. It provides its Members with strictly non residential Moorings for inland Waterways Craft, a Dry Dock and an active Social Calendar.
Steam Tug Kerne To promote, for the benefit of the public, the preservation and maintenance of the historic steam tug Kerne. To advance the education of the public in the science, technology and use of steam power in general and its application to marine in particular.
Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal Society Serving to safeguard, promote and develop the interests of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire canal for the benefit of everyone. Society activities include regular boat gatherings, clean ups and liaisons with outside organisations
Stratford Canal Society To Conserve the Stratford upon Avon Canal and Promote its Fullest Use by promoting the maximum use, maintenance and improvement of all Inland Waterways of Great Britain, and in particular the Stratford upon Avon Canal.
Surrey Care Trust  Surrey Care Trust Our NCBA Accredited Training Centre two boats: Swingbridge1 is a 40′ long and 10′ wide canal boat equipped with a wheelchair lift, crewed by trained volunteers, and provides day trips for disadvantaged and disabled people in Surrey as well as educational courses including CBLP. Swingbridge2 is a 30′ long purpose built work boat, used as a base to carry out conservation work on and near Surrey’s waterways with both supported and unsupported volunteers.
The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Museum The museum tells the story of the 87.5 miles and 200 years of the canal through inception, building, working, decline, reconstruction to present day. Acknowledged to be one of the best small canal museums in the country.
The Kennet & Avon Trade Association Representing the businesses on the Kennet & Avon. Holiday Canal Boat Hire, Passenger Trips, Supplies, Service & Maintenance, Boat Building & Brokerage, Boat Moorings & Marinas, Canal Visitor Attractions and Activities.
The Horseboating Society Horseboating is now rare. Some society members operate commercial passenger boats, providing 1-3 hour trips. The society organises journeys, of several days, keeping alive some tradition of long-distance horseboats.
The Old Middlesex Canal (USA) Ran from Lowell, Mass. to Boston, Mass.
The Pirate Castle The Pirate Castle is a community boat club on the Regents Canal in Camden Town. We offer canoeing, kayaking and trips out. We run canal cruises and trips can be for the day or for weekend or week-long canal holidays.
The Saturn Project Saturn is the only floating example of a horse-drawn Shropshire Union fly-boat. Restored to her former glory she attends north west waterway rallies and events, sometimes still horse-drawn.
The Stover Canal Society The canal was built in 1792 by James Templer to transport clay to the Potteries, granite to London, Liverpool and other cities. It closed in 1939, restoration stared in 1999.
The Weavers’ Triangle Visitor Centre Visitor Centre at Burnley Wharf on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal that tells the story of the cotton industry and the canal in Burnley.
The Working Boat Project The Project Volunteers maintain and operate a fleet of eleven historic working boats , taking them to canal events, rallies and festivals throughout the midlands and further afield.
Wabash & Erie Canal Park (USA) The Carroll County Wabash & Erie Canal, Inc. is dedicated to the preservation of the stretch of the Wabash & Erie Canal located in Delphi, Indiana, USA.
Waterways Experiences Nash Mills, Grand Union Canal, Hemel Hempstead. Day or residential crewed boat trips – charter only. All three of our boats are wide-beam and designed for wheelchair access.  We welcome new volunteers to help with crewing, marketing, IT etc.
Wendover Arm Trust Wendover Arm Trust are restoring the Arm from Bulbourne Junction, near Tring, Herts to Wendover, Bucks
Wey & Arun Canal Trust The Wey & Arun Canal Trust, a registered charity, aims to restore the 23-mile abandoned canal which runs through Surrey and Sussex and create the missing link between Britain’s inland waterways and the English Channel.
Whilton and Buckby Locks Association We perform the general upkeep of the flight of locks 7 to 13 on the GUC including including: lock painting; towpath maintenance; hedge trimming; litter picking; and look after a small nature reserve and small garden.
Whitchurch Waterway Trust Whitchurch Waterway Trust owns and maintains the Whitchurch Arm of the Llangollen Canal, and works on extending the arm further towards the town.
Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Restoring all 70 miles of the Wilts & Berks canal to create a tranquil public waterside park for walking, cycling, fishing & boating.
Wooden Canal Boat Society The Wooden Canal Boat Society was founded in 1995 to maintain and restore historic wooden canal boats, today we continue that goal with a growing fleet of restored in service boats providing for the community.
Worcester – Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society Formed in 1969 to promote the restoration, conservation and improvement of the canal and adjacent waterways for the use and benefit of the public. In 2010 we changed our name to the Worcester-Birmingham and Droitwich Canals Society.

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