Coolcanals: Waterways Directory & Information Guide. Waterside Walks & Cycling, Boating & Holidays in the Waterways Outdoors


About Coolcanals

We're Phillippa Greenwood and Martine O'Callaghan, and we published our first Coolcanals book in 2009. We like to think Coolcanals is at the cutting edge of canal book publishing.
The 'cool' in canals cherishes the amazing living heritage of Britain's canals for today's leisure time, on the water and along the towpath. We know canals aren't only about great narrowboat holidays. There's walking, cycling, canoeing, days out, sightseeing, wildlife, heritage... a haven on our doorstep away from it all.
Phillippa A well-earned beer Bhaile, our boat Martine
We're incurable towpath tourists, ambling and rambling the canals from Cornwall to Scotland, and our passion for canals unashamedly fills our books with personal recommendations and inspiration we'd like to share.
The coolcanals boat
We travelled the waterways in our narrowboat home with eco-office on board - probably the smallest publishing house in the world!
But we didn't do it the easy way - we built the boat ourselves while writing the special edition of 'Cool canals Waterways Walks' as the fundraising incentive for the new Canal & River Trust, and our 2012 title 'Britain's canals, a national treasure in 100 must-see objects'. Scribbling and typing among the sawdust and wood shavings, we were creating our home and office all in one!
Coolcanals books
After the amazing success of our first book, 'Cool canals The Guide', we published two more titles, 'Cool canals Weekend Walks' and 'Cool canals Pub Days Out', in 2010. 'Britain's Great Waterways Outdoors', with contributions from British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust), RSPB, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and Sustrans, followed on as our 'ultimate' guide to the canals in March 2011.
2012 was a really exciting year for us! We were given the honour of playing an important role in the new Canal & River Trust's national fundraising campaign - with a special edition of one of our earlier titles ('Cool canals Weekend Walks') being a prime incentive for recruitment of supporters for the new charity. In July 2012, we published 'Britain's canals, a national treasure in 100 must-see objects'.
We've also created a series of books and booklets for both adults and children - for new 'Friends' of the Canal & River Trust (including new editions of 'Coolcanals Walks' and 'Coolcanals Kids', and a brand new illustrated storybook for under 6's).
We're still working hard, writing, illustrating, continuing to build our photo library, and much, much more!
A long stroll across Britain
Our mission is to keep walking all the canals of Britain, backpacking from the Highlands of Scotland to the sands of Cornwall, in every season and all weathers! Over 2,000 miles of canals meandering almost every contour of the land. We've trundled Britain's canals end to end, from the beach in Bude to the mountains of Wales, over the Pennines, across the Peak District, through the nation's cities, along the Great Glen Way and onto the secret canals hidden in the quietest creases of the land.
"This is real 'slow' walking and could take us some hurry would be to miss the point."
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The waterways environment
We want to inspire visitors to discover and keep using their waterways to help Britain's canals stay alive. Without careful management, and constant costly maintenance our canals could be lost forever. At the same time, because we respect the special community and traditions that make canals unique, we appreciate the dangerously fine line between unhealthy neglect and irresponsible commercial development. So we share some of the best secrets we discover but never knowingly support any business or activity not in keeping with the traditional values and special culture of the canals.
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