Water Vole Reintroduction

The once common water vole (Arvicola amphibius) is believed to have suffered a range decline in excess of 97% throughout its former British range. Although population estimates in 2002 indicated a surviving population of 1.2 million it is a rapidly declining species and current figures suggest a national breeding population of around 400,000 individuals. They are currently believed to be Britain’s fastest declining mammal.

Westland Countryside Stewards are at the forefront of the reintroduction of the endangered water vole to the Bude river catchment and bringing them back to Cornwall, where they were believed to be completely extinct.


water vole feeding on riverside vegetation

A brief introduction to the water vole reintroduction project and the aim to restore a complete water vole breeding population in Cornwall read more

Phase 1: First water voles released (June 2013)

Derek Gow hard releasing a water vole

100 water voles are released on to the Bude river catchment read more

Phase 2: Supporting release water voles (September 2013)

From Left to Right - Rebecca Northey (Derek Gow Consultancy), Chloe Wonnacott (Derek Gow Consultancy), Dennis Vanstone (Westland Countryside Stewards) and Shaun Thomas (Westland Countryside Stewards)

177 water voles were released into the Neet river catchment read more

Phase 3: Programme of events (2014)

Soft release water vole venturing into its new home - Photo courtesy of Nick Upton

Water vole surveying was carried out and we held an information talk on water voles and our project. Two more releases brought the total number of water voles released in the Bude catchment to 550. read more

Information and Downloads

Exit boards being fitted onto soft release water vole cages - photo courtesy of Nick Upston

Information and downloads regarding our water vole release project read more

Cornwall Mink Initiative

Mink Raft

One aspect of long term success of this project is down to continued mink monitoring within the catchment to ensure the survival of the water voles and other native species read more


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