Access to rivers, canals and lakes

At present there is no general public right to walk alongside inland water in England and Wales. The Ramblers believe the public should have a right to walk alongside rivers, canals and lakes, subject to safeguards to protect wildlife, privacy and restrictions to allow landowners to manage land as they see fit.

The Canal and River Trust (which replaced British Waterways) was set up to manage Britain’s waterways for public benefit and enjoyment - including public access on foot, in recognition of the fact that walkers are amongst the largest groups of people to use our canals and rivers.

The Ramblers warmly welcome this commitment to our waterways and the importance of improving public access to our rivers and canals for recreation, health and social wellbeing. We will work closely with the Trust to improve canal towpaths and better integrate these routes with wider walking opportunities.