Opportunities To Volunteer On The Canal


Volunteering is a very important part of how the Canal is run and maintained, and really makes a difference. Not only that:

  • It’s fun
  • It’s a great way to meet new people
  • You learn new skills
  • You feel good giving back to the community
  • It’s interesting to learn about the canal, nature and conservation, and
  • It’s a great way to keep fit and active or just to get you out of the house and get some fresh air.
Crookham WP

A Tuesday Work Party “scrub bashing” near Crookham

And it doesn’t have to be a regular commitment. Whether on the towpath or in the office, there is bound to be a volunteer opportunity to suit your interests. So why don’t you try it and see what you think?

We have over 200 volunteers doing a variety of jobs and below are some of the opportunities – just fill out your details or call the number below to find out more and how to join us.

Volunteer work parties

Runways end towpath

The Society’s regular work party towpath paving near Farnborough

There are Work Parties every Tuesday, run by the Basingstoke Canal Authority (BCA) which do various maintenance jobs keeping the Canal looking good, including overhanging tree and scrub clearance, lock gate painting and such like (above).

audio icon2 24x24 Hear more about the BCA workparties in an interview with ranger Alex Foy 

Watch a short video about the BCA workparties.

Then every second weekend the Society’s regular work party meets to do “heavier” jobs on the Canal, such as structural repair works (left).

There is also the Society engineering team, who undertake special projects for the BCA including boat restoration, equipment repair etc.


Lengthsmen volunteers are all along the Canal, each taking responsibility to regularly walk their section (or “length”) and be the “eyes and ears” of the Canal and checking everything is okay and reporting any problems. If you live nearby and are a regular walker or cyclist, then this role may appeal to you – and it’s a great way also to chat to the public. To find out more, go here.

The John Pinkerton II at Winchfield

Crewing our trip boats

Do you fancy steering a boat, being part of the crew and chatting with the passengers? We need crews for the various boats along the Canal, including the Society’s 50 passenger trip boat John Pinkerton II at Odiham in Hampshire (right), and the smaller Kitty trip boat at Woking. There is also a need for boat maintenance crews during the off-season. See the John Pinkerton website to find out more.

The BCA also needs crews for the Rosebud tripboat and the Patrol Boat based at Mychett.

Involving the Local Community

There is lots to do in helping promote the Canal and getting the local community involved. We need new ideas and people to help us to talk and link into the various groups that use the Canal, be they walkers, cyclists, fishermen, local residents, schools – and people who simply enjoy nature and the peace and quiet.

Other Help and Skills Required

Boats at the 2016 Woking Canal Festival, which celebrated the Canal Society’s 50th anniversary

We need help in other areas, and there are many opportunities to become involved with specific roles or the application of specific skills.

A full list of specific volunteering roles currently available can be found here.

Quite simply there is a lot to choose from – so get in contact and see what might suit you. To find out more, please call Ken Sankey on 07850 652769 or email him at ken.sankey@nullbasingstoke-canal.org.uk