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Waterway Heritage Toolkit

IWA is the only organisation actively campaigning across all waterways to protect and preserve their unique heritage. We also want to ensure there is better recognition of the living waterway heritage such as skills and techniques. We are not asking for the waterways to become a museum. In fact, we want the very opposite. The waterways network needs to continue to be a usable and valuable asset now and into the future. All we are asking is that its history is protected and included in development plans rather than being removed.

IWA aims to encourage a greater understanding of the overall significance of waterways heritage. 

Everyone who spends time on or by our waterways knows it is impossible to ignore the living history at our fingertips. From towering aqueducts to 200-year-old mileposts, gruelling lock flights to gloomy tunnels, they all have a story to tell about the way our canals came about and how they have continued to be used throughout the centuries. We are keen to see these links to our past preserved for generations to come

IWA Heritage Advisory Panel

In 2019 we took a coordinated step towards making the most of our many volunteers with impressive heritage knowledge and experience and formed IWA’s Heritage Advisory Panel (HAP). Their backgrounds are varied, coming from conservation, management and interpretation of historic buildings, archaeology and academic perspectives with CVs referencing involvement with organisations such as English Heritage/Historic England, the Churches Conservation Trust and Institute of Historic Building Conservation. 

  • Derek Humphries
  • Ivor Caplan
  • Nigel Crowe
  • Ian Sesnan

The Panel provides:

  • Advice & guidance on heritage matters. 
  • Works to ensure that waterway heritage is understood and appreciated within government, navigation authorities and other agencies. 
  • Works with IWA branches to identify heritage buildings, structures and artefacts which are at risk of being lost.

If you have any queries please email [email protected] 

IWA Heritage Champions

Many of IWA’s Branches now have a volunteer or a team of volunteers responsible for keeping an eye on local waterway heritage issues. A role description can be viewed here.

IWA Branches can therefore play a vital role in preventing historic buildings and waterway heritage features being lost forever by monitoring, campaigning locally about heritage issues and ensuring branch planning officers are consulted on any waterway-related developments.

Useful Resources