Next month, the Canal and River Trust is launching its national programme of free open days to give the public a peek behind the scenes of some of Britain's rivers and canals.

Ever wondered what goes into preserving Britain’s network of waterways?

Next month, the Canal and River Trust is launching a series of 12 open days to allow the public to go behind the scenes.

Those on the free open days will be able to admire the workmanship that went into making the canals over 200 years ago and meet the engineers keeping them working today.

Among the events planned is a walk along a 800-metre drained stretch of Wales’ picturesque Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, a climb down into the iconic Marple Lock Flight on the Peak Forest Canal, and the chance to discover the history of St. Pancras Lock in the bustling centre of London.

Each open day provides the opportunity for local communities to learn about the history and heritage of their area from one of the charity’s skilled heritage advisers, engineers and other workers.

The charity’s army of volunteers will also be on hand to share their unique knowledge of the waterways and surrounding area with visitors.

Commenting, the chief executive of the trust, Richard Parry, said keeping the historic waterways open and safe requires “a huge amount of planning, investment and craftsmanship”.

“By showcasing this work to the public we can give them a glimpse into the craftsmanship of the waterways’ original 18th Century design and explain the scale of the Canal and River Trust’s work to care for them now,” said Parry.

“We hope this will inspire more people to get on board and support our mission to unlock the potential of every stretch of our canals and rivers,” he added.

Last year, the trust’s construction team unearthed some weird and wonderful items when it drained the canals in preparation for the essential winter works.

Items included a bag of bullets, WW2 hand grenade, 16ft dead python and a Volkswagen Camper Van.

The team will once again be recording what they unearth this year during the trust’s  £43 million maintenance programme.

More information about the Open Day programme, which runs from November to March, can he found here.