The Canal & River Trust (formerly British Waterways) is publishing details of 100 readymade waterway days out (canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit) to give individuals, couples and families a simple and affordable chance to spend quality time.
Half the UK population lives within five miles of one of the Canal & River Trust’s waterways and canals. And there are now 34,000 licensed boats and thousands more unlicensed ones where off-gridders can leave cheap or free lives.
British Waterways were unable to say how fast the numbers are growing, but they do say there are now more boats on the waterways “than at the height of the Industrial Revolution” in the C19th.
There are 2,000 miles of historic canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks, 1,569 locks, 53 tunnels, 3,112 bridges, 370 aqueducts and 74 reservoirs say British Waterways. 200 new miles of waterways were opened in the last decade.
Rivers provide the perfect antidote to the stresses and pressures of modern life says Jenny Roe, an expert in Environmental Psychology and senior research leader for the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York:
“Water is a natural magnet for everyone – we’re drawn to all kinds of blue space from canals, rivers and urban water features, all of which are good for our health and wellbeing. The waterways can really offer us some respite and rest from the cognitive overload of city traffic and noise.”
is launching a marketing campaign to encourage more people to reclaim their quality time. The move follows a YouGov poll which showed that nearly three quarters (73%) of adults believed that people today have less overall quality time with their friends and family than their parents did and around the same number (68%) thought that this would apply for the next generation.
With 77% of respondents in a recent poll saying that just being anywhere by the water is a good place to spend quality time with friends and family, Simon Salem, of the Canal & River Trust adds: “Time, quality time, is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity and we don’t believe this can be good for individuals, communities or society. Quality time means different things to different people, but our experience is that people are increasingly looking for spaces – both physical and mental – to step out of their normal routine for a short time and recharge their batteries. We think there are few better places to do this than beside the water and are encouraging people to discover some of our hidden gems for themselves.”