1. ITV Report

Water Voles return to Exmoor home

Conservationists plan to release another 150 water voles next spring. Photo: ITV West Country

For the first time in 30 years, one of the country's "most endearing" and rare mammals will soon be swimming again along some of the riverbanks of West Somerset.

150 water voles are being released in six places on the National Trust's Holnicote Estate on Exmoor.

According to the National Trust, the water vole is Britain's fastest declining land mammal, over time disappearing from 94% of its former sites.

They disappeared from the area due to intensive farming and predation by mink.

The plan is to release another 150 next spring.

I remember being enchanted by these creatures as a child, and hugely welcome their return. They were once a vital part of the Holnicote ecosystem, and could be again. This ambitious project not only brings back to its rightful home a much-loved small animal, which sadly became locally extinct due to human activity, but also adds to the whole wealth of wildlife and enjoyment of this wild and stunning estate.

In true 'Wind in the Willows' style, these voles should soon be busy burrowing into the muddy banks and creating more natural-looking edges to streams with shady pools that are great for so many other small creatures. I very much look forward to making their acquaintance once more."

– Alex Raeder, the National Trust's South West Conservation Manager
  • Watch the video below for more information on water voles and their return to Exmoor:

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