State of Nature report

60% of UK species in decline.

David Attenborough. Photo ©

"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."



Thank you for helping us protect our water voles!

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Our appeal to help protect Berks, Bucks and Oxon’s water voles has officially finished and we have raised 82% of the target (over £37,000) so far. We’re also thrilled to announce that two unexpected pledges of £5,000 each by our project partners Thames Water and the Environment Agency were made in the final days of the appeal. This brings the total amount raised to beyond our £45,000 target.
This is great news, and means that our work with water voles can continue. Your gifts have made this possible and we’re really grateful.
We are still accepting donations as it would be tremendous to make the full amount and really secure our water voles’ future, so if you’d like to help out please visit our Just Giving page.


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.

Watch water voles in Letcombe Brook

Footage courtesy of Michael Bailey




Illustrations by Louise Hubbard, Portrait by Jil Orpen.