Waterways and wellbeing charity Canal & River Trust is urging people to look ahead and plan a canal escape for when the coronavirus lockdown lifts: a responsible, safe and relaxing way to get away from it all without leaving the country.
The nation’s holiday hire boats offer the chance to explore a wide range of locations across England & Wales, from countryside to former industrial centres, staying aboard a private narrowboat with just family and friends. Spanning over two hundred years of history, the waterways have now transformed into green corridors running through many towns and cities.
Canal and towpath use should be limited and local at the moment and, until they can be re-discovered first-hand, the Trust invites people to become armchair voyagers and prepare for the chance to experience the pleasures of the UK’s waterways.
Richard Parry, chief executive at Canal & River Trust, said: “Research shows that simply being by the water makes people feel happier. As we begin to look ahead towards life after lockdown, what better way to see the countryside and soothe away the stress of the past few months than a trip to – or on – the waterways?
“Whether it’s a hire boat holiday to explore tranquil miles of canal, a trip to one of the wonders of the waterways, or just a walk along your favourite towpath, they offer a perfect getaway while staying safe and avoiding international travel.
“The original ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’ list, compiled by the waterways restoration hero Robert Aickman over 60 years ago, offers a fascinating insight into our industrial heritage, and it’s truly inspiring to see these spectacular feats of engineering still in active use today.
“This connection to the past grounds us all, while the slow pace of canal life lets us put aside the anxieties of everyday life, especially in such extraordinary times when we need it more than ever.
Richard continues: “Whilst we are all currently on coronavirus lockdown, it is important we all strictly apply government advice to stay at home. For now, use of towpaths should be limited and strictly local, respecting other people, especially those staying on moored boats. But, in a short time, we will be able to go out again and this is a perfect time to plan the next ‘big adventure’ along our unique, inspirational waterways.”
The Canal & River Trust looks after nearly 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England & Wales, running through the hearts of the nation’s towns and cities and meandering through the countryside.
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Packed with wildlife, history, astonishing feats of engineering, varied landscapes, a waterway getaway offers something for everyone. And there are many ways to explore them, from hire boat holidays and day boat hire, to daytrips to heritage sites, paddling along a coast-to-coast canoe trail, to towpath walking weekends.
Why not start by investigating the original seven wonders of the waterways? These triumphs of industrial age engineering are still spectacular today: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/canal-history/history-features-and-articles/the-seven-wonders-of-the-waterways (or see notes to editors).
Find ideas and inspiration on day visits and boating holidays visit: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk