20 December 2023

IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group has launched its summer programme of working holidays called ‘Canal Camps’. These week-long getaways mean that you can help restore the derelict waterways of England and Wales.

This year, volunteers will support 11 different canal restoration projects and undertake a range of work over 17 weeks. For example, you could help build a brand new traditional style brick arch bridleway bridge on the Wey and Arun Canal, rebuild a ‘bullnose’ and help reinstate a section of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal. which has been closed since a disastrous breach in 1936, or create a flood storage compensation area by the River Erewash, on the Cromford Canal, using dumpers and excavators.

This year we will be heading to:

  • February 10th – February 17th – Lancaster Canal CC2024-01
  • March 28th – April 2nd – Montgomery Canal (Tue to Thu) CC2024-02
  • June 29th – July 6th – Wey & Arun Canal Rooks Bridge (NWPG) Canal CC2024-03
  • July 6th – July 13th – Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal (week 1) CC2024-04
  • July 6th – July 13th – Wey & Arun Canal Rooks Bridge (KESCRG) Canal (week 2) CC2024-05
  • July 13th – July 20th – Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal (week 2) CC2024-06
  • July 20th – July 27th – Cromford Canal CC2024-07
  • July 27th – Aug 3rd – Cotswold Canals JRL(week 1) CC2024-09
  • Aug 3rd – Aug 10th – Cotswold Canals JRL (week 2) CC2024-11
  • Aug 10th – Aug 17th – Louth Navigation CC2024-12
  • Aug 10th – Aug 17th – Cotswold Canals JRL (week 3) CC2024-13
  • Aug 17th – Aug 24th – Lapal Canal CC2024-14
  • Aug 17th – Aug 24th – Cotswold Canals Weymoor Bridge (week 1) CC2024-15
  • Aug 24th Aug 31st – Wey & Arun Canal Bonfire Hanger Towpath (week 1) CC2024-16
  • Aug 24th Aug 31st – Cotswold Canals Weymoor Bridge (week 2) CC2024-17
  • Aug 31st – Sep 7th – Wey & Arun Canal Bonfire Hanger Towpath (week 2) CC2024-18
  • Oct 19th – Oct 26th – Dudley No 2 (Coombeswood) Canal CC2024-19

The programme also includes the BCN Cleanup on 16th-17th March – an opportunity to have fun and meet new people while clearing shopping trolleys, tyres, bicycles and even more exciting treasures from The Birmingham Canals:  Birmingham Canals Clean-up 2024 – Inland Waterways

Please be aware that some camps are particularly popular and they might get fully booked very quickly – if you would like to join in, then do not delay!

If you’re looking to complete the residential part of your Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award find out more at DofE Award – Inland Waterways

WRG Leadership Training Day and WRG Training Weekend will also open for booking shortly – do not forget to check WRG website/social media for any updates.

The waterways of today would not exist without IWA and the work of our dedicated members and volunteers who, over many years, ensured that canals and rivers were saved and enhanced. IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group has helped restore waterways by running Canal Camps, our week-long working holidays, and weekend digs on restoration sites, as well as by providing training for restoration volunteers. Over five hundred miles of the UK’s waterways have been saved from dereliction since IWA was founded in 1946. Many more miles are gradually being brought back to life thanks to the work of IWA and WRG volunteers as well as the extraordinary hard work and dedication of restoration groups all over the country.

About WRG Canal Camps

Canal Camps are a great experience for anyone who loves being outdoors and enjoys meeting new people from different backgrounds and of different ages.


Experience is a bonus but isn’t necessary. Our Camps offer you a fantastic chance to learn new skills such as:

  • Bricklaying
  • Stone walling
  • Machine operation
  • Heritage restoration techniques

Volunteers on our camps work together and make a real difference over the course of the week. They leave with a sense of pride, knowing that they have helped to bring a waterway back to life.

Ju, one of our volunteers, said “I love the work and seeing the progress and difference we make on so many canals. I also love the social side and the fantastic family you all become!

Will said about his experience: “One of my favourite parts of the week was the frequent involvement with copious amount of mud and the things lurking in it! I would definitely be returning for another camp and would recommend that anyone else considering it should go for it wholeheartedly.


We restore canals as we believe they are a key part of our 21st century green-blue infrastructure. They act as a huge, linear national park, connecting communities, providing safe havens for wildlife and spaces for people to enjoy and relax in. They are also an important part of our industrial heritage and could play an important role in protecting us from flooding due to climate change.

For those who have never been involved in a WRG canal Camp before, check the link below some general information.  We welcome volunteers whose skills may differ and whose age may vary considerably. Please note accommodations for WRG Canal Camps are basic and participants will share a room with up to 16 other volunteers – do not forget your own sleeping bag, camp bed or inflatable mattress!

Find out more about our Canal Camps.

Find Your Summer Canal Camp Staycation

Volunteers working on the Wey &Arun canal restoration
Wootton Brook Towpath upgrade