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Today the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers will be placed in trust for the nation as a new charity, the Canal and River Trust, is launched.

The move, part of the Public Bodies Reform programme, is the largest single transfer of a public body into the charitable sector and will give communities the opportunity to get involved with the running of their local canal or river.

From today the 10 million people who visit and love the waterways will have the chance to play a greater role in making them more beautiful than ever.

The Trust state that they are very excited about this new approach to caring for our canals and rivers.

To mark the launch the charity have unveiled the first appeal, 50 projects across the nation that will breathe new life into towpaths and riverbanks.

  By pledging time or money the public can get involved in projects such as creating new habitats for rare water voles, planting linear orchards for people and wildlife and restoring neglected towpaths.

A Canal and River Trust spokesperson said We are pleased to have already won the support of three major corporate partners.

One million pounds of funding is being pledged to support our conservation work thanks to players of the Peoples Postcode Lottery.

Google is working with us to encourage people to discover and enjoy the wildlife along their local waterway by literally putting towpaths on the map, Google Maps.

The Co operative Bank will offer those who enjoy or live on the waterways the option of supporting our conservation work through everyday banking products.

Defra is also helping us get off to a great start by committing to a landmark, 15 year grant funding agreement as the bedrock to us maintain our waterways.

In addition to this, we are funded through commercial income including money from waterside property dowry, boat licences and moorings.

Every penny donated by the public to the Trust will be spent directly on conserving, restoring, and enhancing the waterways.

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The beautiful canals of England and Wales wind their way through a variety of interesting and distinctive locations offering you the chance to stop off and investigate further at a mooring of your choice or to simply continue cruising onto the next destination.
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