Worcester wouldn’t be Worcester without the river Severn. An interpretation of the Saxon origins of the city’s name even means “the people of the winding river”.

With the Worcester & Birmingham Canal branching off the Severn just up from Diglis Island, the city is home to a magnificent array of waterways that are in great health.

At the Canal & River Trust – the charity that cares for these waterways – we are now encouraging people to spend more time by the water, because doing so can make you happier.

Independent research shows that when people are by water they are able to relax more. And the longer the visit, the higher levels of happiness and lower levels of anxiety people are likely to experience.

At a time of ever increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, and rising levels of mental health conditions, the rivers and canals on our doorsteps can provide an ideal space for people to escape the stresses of everyday life.

There is such a variety of ways to enjoy the waterways too: boating, paddle-boarding, running, cycling and angling, or just a simple walk or lunch time visit.

As a charity we are now getting a huge amount of help from volunteers and community groups to look after the waterways. Our volunteers tell us it’s a great chance to work outdoors, stay fit and make a difference in the community. So feel free to join us if this floats your boat (sorry for the pun!).

And this summer, if you find yourself in the city with a few moments to spare, get down to the canal or river and see what it can offer you.