SIR Tony Robinson is urging residents of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire to rediscover their historic canals and to help prevent them falling into further disrepair.
The TV presenter and historian is backing a campaign from the Canal & River Trust, which cares for 2,000 miles of working waterways in England & Wales.
The trust is publishing an online map allowing people to explore lost canals, find out about their history and support the local restoration groups working to bring them back to life.
The Wilts and Berks Canal and the Thames and Severn Canal are two examples of local canals which the campaign is backing.
Over 200 miles of canals have been restored since the turn of the millennium but this is a tiny fraction of the 5,000 miles of waterway the UK used to maintain.
Sir Tony Robinson said: “The waterway network is part of the fabric of our nation but it’s easy to forget that not so very long ago some of our most popular canals were almost lost forever.
“The fact that we can still enjoy them now is thanks largely to the vision, dedication and sheer hard work of volunteers in the 60s and 70s. These inspiring men and women just wouldn’t take no for an answer and worked on the basis that nothing was impossible.”
The online map can be found at http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/restoration