With more than 500 miles of derelict waterways that need your help to restore them, bookings have opened for IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group 2024 programme of working holidays in England and Wales.

Called ‘Canal Camps’, these week-long getaways mean that you can help restore the derelict waterways of England and Wales. This year, volunteers will support 11 different canal restoration projects and undertake a range of work over 17 weeks. For example, you could help build a brand new traditional style brick arch bridleway bridge on the Wey and Arun Canal, rebuild a ‘bullnose’ and help reinstate a section of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal, which has been closed since a disastrous breach in 1936, or create a flood storage compensation area by the River Erewash, on the Cromford Canal, using dumpers and excavators.

Experience is a bonus but isn’t necessary. The Camps offer you a fantastic chance to learn new skills such as:

  • Bricklaying
  • Stone walling
  • Machine operation
  • Heritage restoration techniques

Volunteers the camps work together and make a real difference over the course of the week. They leave with a sense of pride, knowing that they have helped to bring a waterway back to life.

Ju, a volunteers, said “I love the work and seeing the progress and difference we make on so many canals. I also love the social side and the fantastic family you all become!

The dates for 2024 are:

  • February 10th – February 17th – Lancaster Canal CC2024-01
  • March 28th – April 2nd – Montgomery Canal (Tue to Thu) CC2024-02
  • June 29th – July 6th – Wey & Arun Canal Rooks Bridge (NWPG) Canal CC2024-03
  • July 6th – July 13th – Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal (week 1) CC2024-04
  • July 6th – July 13th – Wey & Arun Canal Rooks Bridge (KESCRG) Canal (week 2) CC2024-05
  • July 13th – July 20th – Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal (week 2) CC2024-06
  • July 20th – July 27th – Cromford Canal CC2024-07
  • July 27th – Aug 3rd – Cotswold Canals JRL(week 1) CC2024-09
  • Aug 3rd – Aug 10th – Cotswold Canals JRL (week 2) CC2024-11
  • Aug 10th – Aug 17th – Louth Navigation CC2024-12
  • Aug 10th – Aug 17th – Cotswold Canals JRL (week 3) CC2024-13
  • Aug 17th – Aug 24th – Lapal Canal CC2024-14
  • Aug 17th – Aug 24th – Cotswold Canals Weymoor Bridge (week 1) CC2024-15
  • Aug 24th Aug 31st – Wey & Arun Canal Bonfire Hanger Towpath (week 1) CC2024-16
  • Aug 24th Aug 31st – Cotswold Canals Weymoor Bridge (week 2) CC2024-17
  • Aug 31st – Sep 7th – Wey & Arun Canal Bonfire Hanger Towpath (week 2) CC2024-18
  • Oct 19th – Oct 26th – Dudley No 2 (Coombeswood) Canal CC2024-19

The programme also includes the BCN Cleanup on 16 – 17 March – an opportunity to have fun and meet new people while clearing shopping trolleys, tyres, bicycles and even more exciting treasures from The Birmingham Canals:  Birmingham Canals Clean-up 2024 – Inland Waterways

Over five hundred miles of the UK’s waterways have been saved from dereliction since IWA was founded in 1946. Many more miles are gradually being brought back to life thanks to the work of IWA and WRG volunteers as well as the extraordinary hard work and dedication of restoration groups all over the country.

Find out more about our Canal Camps.