27 February 2021

Our inland waterways are vibrant, valuable green spaces that connect city and countryside, alive with boats and enjoyed by millions. They can bring an enormous sense of wellbeing to the people that enjoy them. But there are places where waterways are difficult to access and use.

We have launched the Waterways Watch initiative to help us get a good picture of the issues that affect our country’s canals and rivers. We want to know about problems experienced by you as you use them.

access to Canal & River paths

Right now, we want to know about any issues you have experienced accessing your local waterways during the current lockdown. This could include places where you find it difficult to access the towpath or move along it, or where paths don’t exist.

Overgrown Vegetation & DREDGING

Once boating is possible, we also want to hear about places that need dredging – where boats are grounding in the middle of the channel, or experiencing difficulties entering or exiting a lock due to channel depth. In addition, we want to hear about problematic vegetation. This could be anywhere the towpath, waterway, sight line or winding hole is blocked by vegetation growth.

Evidence gained from surveys such as this allow us to build up a better picture of issues we should be raising with navigation authorities, at a local and national level. It also enables us to gather evidence to lobby government for better funding for the inland waterways.  This initiative follows on from our 2018 Gaptracker survey, where we asked boaters to identify areas on the UK’s waterways where facilities were missing or in poor condition.  Hundreds of comments were received about facilities, that we followed up with nine different navigation authorities.

Waterways Watch reporting

We want the waterways to be accessible for the communities that enjoy them. So, please do tell us of any specific problems through our Waterways Watch reporting form. Please report any urgent or emergency issues to the relevant navigation authority.

Complete the Waterways Watch reporting form