Water Vole Recovery Project

Copyright Margaret HollandCopyright Margaret Holland

Saving Ratty!

Water voles are now one of the UK’s most endangered animals.

Water voles were abundant when Kenneth Graeme gave Ratty his starring role in Wind in the Willows. That was back in 1908 and since then water voles have suffered one of the most catastrophic declines of any British mammal in history. Numbers have plummeted - surveys have found numbers are down by around 90% to 95% over 30 years.

The decline is mostly due to losing the places they need to live. The way we manage our rivers, ditches and canals doesn’t focus on water voles and the habitat they need. The problem is made worse by their main predator, the American mink first found breeding in the wild in 1950’s. 

Water Voles found in Warwickshire

Thankfully, recent surveys by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust found a small number of water voles have come back to North Warwickshire. This area is now a really important part of a network of canals, rivers and brooks.
Our new Water Vole Recovery Project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. We aim to create the big changes needed in this area to help the water vole population.

We’ll be providing training for local people to help preserve their valuable waterways and water vole populations. Our work will improve habitats for water voles and other species and encourage them to spread into other waterways.

Watch this short film about water voles by film-maker Stephen de Vere. Find out more about Stephen's wildlife films.


Vital funding allows us to:

  • Survey how good the habitat is and check for water voles
  • Enhance habitat, improve links between waterways so water voles can move freely and have more feeding and nesting opportunities.
  • Give water voles more cover to escape predators 
  • Monitor American mink to make sure we keep numbers as low as possible to prevent them wiping out water vole colonies
  • Provide training opportunities and run volunteer groups in local communities

We need you!

We need help from volunteers to make sure Warwickshire’s water voles don’t make another disappearing act.

We’ve been running training days and habitat enhancement days through 2016 and 2017 and training volunteers in valuable traditional skills, for example: 

  • Water vole survey training – Learn more about water voles in Warwickshire. Plus enjoy a site visit to identify signs of water voles
  • Hedge laying training – help to let more light onto river and canal banks for lush vegetation to grow and learn the ancient skill of hedge laying.
  • Water vole survey – help us to carry out our annual survey of water voles in North Warwickshire




Please get in touch to find out how you can get involved and help to save our water voles. 

To find out more please contact:

 Tim Precious, Wetlands Projects Officer
 024 7630 2912
 Tim Precious

Have you seen a water vole?

Please fill in our Water Vole Sighting form and let us know more. 


Water Vole Recovery Project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund




FilenameFile size
Water vole leaflet (designed by Chris Harris).pdf2.92 MB