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Waterways heritage at risk

Britain’s canals and rivers are a unique, living heritage. But that heritage is at risk – from urban development, lack of protection, loss of skills and knowledge and climate change.

Waterways heritage focus

What is waterways heritage?

Waterways heritage is more than just the canals and rivers themselves.

Heritage Bridge 77, Congleton on the Macclesfield Canal by Martin Allaway

5 good reasons heritage matters

Still need convincing? Here’s 5 reasons to love canal and river heritage.

Local hidden heritage

Share the hidden heritage features of your local waterways.

We protect waterways heritage. We:

Provide guidance

We will work with local groups to identify developments that pose a heritage risk. We engage with local authorities to find solutions, working alongside others in the local community. We know training is crucial and will encourage more professional volunteers to get involved. Download our Heritage reports.

Improve protection

We want more waterways – including linked buildings and infrastructure – designated as Conservation Areas. In places that are already covered, we want local groups to encourage reviews if needed. We will recruit more people into planning/heritage officer roles.

Engage with communities

We will engage with communities to promote the importance of heritage assets as part of their local history and encourage a sense of ownership over them.

Champion skills

We will champion inland heritage skills by working with boatyards and craftspeople to develop training, in partnership with other organisations.


Heritage News

Local canal heritage campaigns

Bee near a plant
Burslem Branch Canal Trent & Mersey Canal Conservation Area
Crown Wharf planning protection for heritage
Aberdulais Aqueduct waterways heritage at risk from climate change
Hammersmith Bridge waterways heritage structure at risk
Moored boats at Snarestone Wharf on the Ashby Canal


Waterways heritage report: Part 1



Waterways heritage report: Part 2