Rivers and Canals

The Council takes its name from the three rivers that run through the district - the Chess, the Colne and the Gade.

Maintenance of the rivers is the responsibility of the Environment Agency


The Grand Union Canal also runs through the district. The Canal and River Trust, who look after the canals in this country, are very conscious of looking after their heritage and the improvements are all built so that they do not clash with the older environment. 

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Thanks to our waterways millions of children have the chance to experience local wildlife - even to see a kingfisher or an otter close up. Those struggling with the pressures of day-to-day life have somewhere to rejuvenate themselves. And many of us have a place on our doorstep where we can simply stretch our legs and soak up 200 years of history.

Ricky Festival 2008.jpgPlaces to visit - Canal and River Trust

Mums, dads, grandparents, carers - are you looking for inspiring places to visit with the kids? Then look no further than your local canal or river and download a free fun-packed local map and activity sheet by clicking on the map or by using the search box.

Dog Walking - Canal and River Trust

In the heart of the city and out in the countryside, waterways have always been popular places to take a stroll. And with over 2,000 miles of canals and rivers to explore, there’s plenty of room for everyone. So if your dog’s as polite and respectful as you are then grab that lead and hit the towpath with man’s best friend. View the dog-friendly sites on the canals. All these places to go welcome dogs, and are provided with dog waste bins. Some may require dogs to be on leads. This list is not exhaustive, these are just some of our favourites.

Dogs walking by the canal Little dog dresses up for event

The Great Nature Watch - Canal and River Trust

Next time you're down by the water why not tell us about the creatures you've spotted there?

Water vole sat on grass

Our Great Nature Watch asks people to visit their local canal, river, reservoir or lake and record sightings of water voles, as well as all the other wildlife they see. It’s a fun activity to do with the family and will really help us to monitor the wide variety of precious wildlife that the waterways are home to.

Useful websites for information on Rivers and Canals

Association of Inland Navigation Authorities
AINA represents the inland navigation authorities of the United Kingdom.

British Marine Federation
Website for the British boating industry's trade association, the British Marine Federation

British Waterways
British Waterways is the public body responsible for maintaining and developing the waterways and their heritage for everyone to enjoy.

Environment Agency
The leading public body responsible for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales 

Inland Waterways Association
Founded in 1946 - over 50 years of successful campaigning for the Inland Waterways of Great Britain

National Association of Boat Owners
The National Association of Boat Owners is dedicated to promoting the interests and concerns of boaters on Britain's Canals and Rivers.

Residential Boat Owners' Association
The Residential Boat Owners' Association exists to act in the interests of boat dwellers. Maybe you'd like to live afloat but you don't know where to start, our FAQ covers the most common questions we get asked about living on a boat. You can also find details of our work and a diary of events. 

Waterways Liaison Service On-Line
Bringing together waterway related organisations to promote their events to a wider audience.