Canals KS2 – Resource for history and geography

What's included?

12-page PDF information sheet

Key Stage



Years 3-6


This All About Canals KS2 resource from The Canal & River Trust is great for history and geography local studies, as well as for project and badge work.

Students will discover:

  • How canals are different from rivers
  • Why we build canals
  • Who built canals and when
  • Weird and wonderful canal inventions
  • Who looks after canals today
  • Your nearest canal

Canals KS2 facts

The first canals were first built hundreds of years ago in Egypt, Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq and Syria), China and India. They were usually small channels that people built to take water from rivers to fields to grow crops. People built larger canals to transport cargo such as grain.

In Britain, the Romans built the first canals along with roads and cities. Some people think they built the Fossdyke Navigation in Lincolnshire. It connected Lincoln, an important Roman town, to the River Trent.

After the Romans left, canals silted up and became unnavigable. Roads fell into disrepair. Some bulky goods such as timber, stone and coal were transported by river. But there were big hazards such as fierce currents, low bridges and weirs.

The Canal & River Trust is a charity that looks after 2,000 miles of waterways. ‘Explorers’ is the Trust’s education programme aimed at children aged 5-11. Find out more at You can also follow on Twitter at @canalrivertrust. See a similar resource all about rivers for KS2.

Canals KS2 resource pack
Canals KS2 – Resource for history and geography

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