You can still enjoy our waterways in winter despite the dropping temperatures and tightening of lockdown restrictions. We have put together some ideas for you so you can make the most of our canals (please ensure you follow the latest Government lockdown guidance).

1. Visit your local canal 

CanalAbility adapted canal boat in winter

Wheelchair user with dog

If you are lucky enough to live locally and can follow the latest Government guidelines, why not visit your local canal. If you are a person who uses a wheelchair, or have mobility issues, the Canal and River Trust have produced an online map which highlights accessible areas. 

Find the Canal & River Trust accessibility map here.

If you are unable to visit in person at the moment, why not read our Sights and Attraction blogs and find out more about the waterways in your local area and what they have to offer. 

2. Enjoy a virtual canal boat experience 

Get a taste for your next canal boat experience with some virtual tours to help you enjoy the beauty of our local canals from the comfort of your sofa.

Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse Gone Fishing episode featuring CanalAbility adaped canal boat

You can also catch up with television celebrities Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse who recently spent time filming for their TV series, Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, on-board Stort Challenger, one of CanalAbility’s three specially adapted canal boats.   

Our own research with clients told us that they very much valued the ability to get away, relax, and feel good when participating in one of our canal boat trips or holidays, and that they enjoyed the peace, tranquillity, and stress-free environment of being out on the river. 

Why not make a provisional booking with us now for when we are up and running again – there’s absolutely no risk to you, we just pencil in a date for you.

3. Learn something new 

If you’ve been lucky enough to enjoy our adapted canal boat experience yourself, with a day tripmidweek short-break or longer holiday, then you may have already been shown how to steer the boat and work the locks.

If you are unsure if it’s for you, here’s a video from the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust on their own canal boat adventure on-board our accessible boat, Redwatch

EMC Trust go boating with CanalAbility

Our three purpose-built, fully centrally heated and accessible broad beam boats enable everyone to take a full and active part in the boating experience all year round. 

Once we are able to offer volunteer opportunities again, you could join us and not only have the chance to learn new skills but also make a valued contribution to our disabled clients and the organisations we serve. 

If you’re wondering what it’s like to volunteer for CanalAbility, read our blog where John Thorn shares his motivation to join us, and his experiences so far.

4. Connect with nature 

Studies have shown that exposure to nature can not only boost happiness, positive emotions and kindness, but also be good for our personal well-being. 

Research has also shown that the benefits of being in green spaces include a reduction in blood pressure, stress levels, and make us feel more positive (something we could all benefit from at the moment!).  Studies have also provided evidence that even just looking out of a window onto a natural scene can soothe us and relieve stress. 

5. Wildlife Watch 

Our waterways are important habitats for all kinds of wildlife and getting close helps to improve our wellbeing. 

There’s plenty to see along the canal, either walking along or, when we are able to open, from one of our adapted canal boats

Read our Sights and Attractions blog, Spellbrook to Bishops Stortford to find out what you could discover in the wetland areas of Rushey Mead Nature Reserve. 

Find out more about canal habitats with the Canal and River Trust

If you are interested in finding our more about organising your own accessible canal boat experience,  please contact us for more information.  Although we aren’t currently operating, we are taking provisional bookings, at absolutely no risk to you!