British Waterways, which looks after 2,200 miles of canals and rivers, is seeing volunteer lock keepers. Peter Lankester, a retired naval commander, has taken up the mantle at the Caen Hill lock flight on the Kennet and Avon Canal near Devizes, Wiltshire, and recommends the role: ‘I find it extremely rewarding.

To be a part of looking after such a beautiful part of our natural heritage is something that I encourage anyone to get involved with.’ Recruits ideally need to be able to offer two days a week (although this is flexible) during the season, which runs from March to October, and new keepers will be required to attend a two-day induction and safety course in their local area. Canal enthusiast Brian Blessed is supporting the scheme.

‘I would urge people to get involved. It’s important that we do what we can to protect our waterways for future generations to enjoy.’ Anyone interested should visit www.waterscape.com and fill in the form under Volunteering.

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