Welcome Bridge Map Places to Visit Canal Topics Miscellaneous

Matching this guide to:   The National Curriculum Framework Document

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Curriculum Subject


 Match in CRT Materials (Including this guide)




  • The Duck, Otter and Newt characters, and speech balloons used in trail guides, engage children in reading simple sentences.
  • Nouns, verbs and adjectives associated with canals are phonetically obvious and often match the statutory requirement. eg "duck", "sink", "coffer dam", "grasses", "gull", etc.


  • Most of the words in the Y3/4 list (P65) and many of those in the Y5/6 list (p72) are in this guide, so describing the canal uses those words.
  • Links into the Explorers website encourage wider reading skill.
  • Exercises derived from visits to the canal develop narrative skills.




  • The canal is home to large populations of many different species, leading to opportunities for counting, addition and statistical work (tally charts).
  • Locks and bridges are good examples of 2D and 3D shapes.


  • The canal is a transport system made of water. The volume of water can be estimated as 10m wide x 1.5m deep x 60km long (to Wigan). Calculating the transport requirements for commodities moved on the canal exercises arithmetic skills. eg.
  • In 1865, a total of 1,879,721 tons of coal was transported on the Leeds and Liverpool canal.  Round this figure to the nearest 100,000.
  • If coal was carried on 50 weeks of the year, how much coal was carried each week?
  • If no coal was carried on Sunday, how much coal was carried each working day?
  • A barge can carry a load of 30 tons. Calculate:
  • The number of barge required each day.
  • The number of barge loads moved in 1865.
  • The mass of coal moved on those barges (reverse calculation)
  • A visit to Stanley Locks provides opportunities for further work involving shape, area, volume, mass and weight.
  • Everything about the canal is measured, and marked, in imperial quantities providing opportunities for conversions. eg the Leeds and Liverpool canal is 127.25 miles long. What's that in Km.




1Biology (plants, animals, habitats)

Recognising different species of trees, plants, insects, birds, amphibians, fish. Links to further resources, including Explorers and other websites, help deal with the structure of plants and animals.

The Explorers offering on habitats is particularly strong. Contact Katie Jackson

Food chains are easily observed on the canal. eg: a heron eats fish, which eat small creatures such as those identified in our pond dipping exercise (Contact Katie Jackson) or plants.

Physics (materials)

The Explorers "build a canal" activity investigates the use of materials including wood, plastic, metal water and aggregates (rock). Contact Katie Jackson.


Biology (Living things and their habitats)

  • The guide links to authoritative classification websites. CRT provides classification cards.
  • The Wildlife superhighway page incorporates a wide range of providers, predators and prey.
  • The canal is a natural environment in which to observe the life cycle of animals including insects. Contact Katie Jackson for a guided towpath trek.

 Physics (everyday materials, states of matter, properties and changes of materials, forces)

  • The Explorers "build a canal" activity investigates the use of materials including wood, plastic, metal water and aggregates (rock). Contact Katie Jackson
  • The explorers Building Bridges resource explores the uses of everyday materials, including how they distort under pressure and their properties.
  • We've got lots of water. It sometimes freezes in winter and evaporates in summer. Water at Stanley locks is brackish.
  • Why things float explores forces in balance and the concept of fluid (liquids and gases). The bow wave of a boat is an easy way to visualise water resistance.
  • The Superhighway to Wigan pier page explains about friction and drag.
  • A visit to Stanley locks demonstrates the use of levers and pulleys. Contact Katie Jackson.


Art & Design


  • Download "Duck hat", "Roses & castles" and other resources from the Explorers website.  Mike Clarke of the Leeds and Liverpool canal society has a resource about bright work.



  • Contact Katie Jackson for a Water Safety visit, which encourages good citizenship. Citizenship is not a required subject at L1 or L2, but water safety includes good citizenship, and is necessary pre-learning for a visit to the canal.




  • A visit to Stanley Locks demonstrates a sequence which must be followed and therefore includes checks and decision making. (eg is that gate closed? No? close it). Flowcharting this sequence in a programming environment such as Yenka can be the basis for an understanding of algorithms and (Boolean) logical reasoning (eg IF Top Gate closed AND Bottom gate closed AND Lock NOT Full Then open top sluice).


Design & Technology




  • The L&LC of necessity forms an integral part of the human and physical surround of many schools.




KS 1

KS 2

Four factors make the Leeds and Liverpool Canal a good vehicle for the study of both local, national and international history:

  • Canals revolutionised transport in the 18th century by providing a 100 fold increase in efficiency. this development is as significant as that of the railway per se, and significantly more important to the industrial revolution (according to most historians).
  • The L&LC remained the major carrier of goods into and out of the Liverpool docks system well into the 20th century. As such, it is a major factor in the development of Liverpool (and Bootle) as an international port.
  • The L&LC runs parallel to Liverpool's North dock system, and is inextricably linked to the history of both Liverpool and Bootle, which is of international importance in such notable occurrences as the Triangular trade (slave trade), Irish Potato Famine, and WW2.
  • As a major linear feature in the landscape, the canal formed a natural boundary in the 1944 plan for the current shape of the Liverpool/Bootle conurbation.

As such, this guide can be used to address:

  • Changes in living memory - After the war page.
  • Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality - WW2, Industrial Bootle, Industrial Liverpool
  • a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066 - such as:
  • a significant turning point in British history, for example, the first canals or the Battle of the Atlantic