State of Nature report

60% of UK species in decline.

David Attenborough. Photo ┬ę

"This important document provides a stark warning: far more species are  declining than increasing in the UK" - David Attenborough

What's happened to our water voles?


Click on our infographics to learn about water voles in the UK

Vote for your favourite water vole photo


Recent Donations

£20.00 - "I am appalled by the rapid decline in this species. It would be heartbreaking to see all your good work undone for lack of funding. Hope this small contribution will help."

£50.00 - "People living near the River Chess are so grateful for your efforts to safeguard its water vole population. Long may your work continue!."

£10.00 - "Thank you for working so hard to protect our wildlife. God bless the water vole."


£20.00 - "I once loved watching the water voles on the riverbank in Cranford park but sadly they disappeared many years ago."



Our water voles are under threat!

Will you become a guardian of the riverbank and help protect water voles in Berks, Bucks and Oxon before these beautiful animals disappear from our streams and river banks?

Here in the three counties water vole populations have grown during the last 5 years, largely because of our dedicated conservation work.

Without urgent funding, despite all our hard work and positive results, our local water vole colonies will be in jeopardy.

But water voles can disappear just as easily as they arrive.

Insensitive works on riverbanks or the presence of just one American mink could quickly wipe out a water vole colony.

Please, if you can, give now to help us continue our vital conservation work. You will help safeguard water voles' future locally.

What BBOWT is doing

A nationwide survey carried out in 1997 showed that water voles had vanished from 95 per cent of their habitats.

In 1998, the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency, along with Canal and River Trust and Thames Water, began a pioneering project to reverse this decline. Since then the Water Vole Recovery Project has worked to halt the loss of water voles in the three counties and aid their recovery.

  • We record and monitor water vole populations. This helps us know where to focus our conservation efforts.
  • We work with landowners to provide advice on managing sites for water voles.
  • We help to co-ordinate mink control in and around key water vole areas to protect vole populations from predation.
  • Read our water vole FAQs to find out more

One of the most rewarding aspects of working with water voles is being able to quickly see the results of our work. In the right environment water voles are prolific breeders and populations spread quite rapidly. Where we’ve created new habitat voles have quickly moved in, and where mink have been trapped, populations have quickly recovered.


Julia Lofthouse, Mammal Project Officer talks about water voles.

Listen to Julia go in search of water voles along Shill Brook, Oxfordshire.

Where to see and how to spot water voles


Find out more about water voles on our species page.

Look out for burrows in the riverbank, often with a nibbled 'lawn' of grass around the entrance.

Piles of nibbled grass and stems may be found by the water's edge, showing a distinctive 45° angled-cut at the ends.

Latrines of rounded, 'tic-tac' sized droppings may also be spotted.

My worry is that turning our backs on the water vole, even if momentarily, could undo all our good work and signal the end for some of our local water vole colonies.

Watch water voles in Letcombe Brook

Footage courtesy of Michael Bailey



Illustrations by Louise Hubbard, Portrait by Jil Orpen.