Water voles return to the Ver

Ratty's return to the Ver

Water Vole © Terry Whittaker/2020VISION

This ambitious project will see water voles make a comeback to the Ver! In 2021, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, in partnership with Ver Valley Society, will be reintroducing water voles to the banks of the River Ver, just north-east of St Albans. 

November 2020
Water voles, also known as Ratty since Kenneth Grahame's popular classic Wind in the Willows, have been suffering immense declines in the past and are today one of Britain's fastest-declining mammals. Earlier this year, a study has concluded that this stretch of the Ver provides the perfect habitat for water voles. However, with the nearest water vole population being somewhere near Rickmansworth, the animals won't be able to populate the Ver by themselves. 

Water vole

Water vole (c) Tom Marshall

In 2021, 150 animals, supplied by a specialist breeder, will be released along a privately owned five-kilometre stretch of the river between St Albans and Redbourn. The animals will be closely monitored and it is hoped that they will make their way up and down the river over the following years.

This is a major breakthrough for wildlife in the Ver Valley and proves that it’s not too late to bring water voles back from the brink.

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust has extensive experience with water voles, having introduced them to Thorley Wash Nature Reserve near Bishop's Stortford in 2015. Today, the animals are thriving there and have since moved up and down the River Stort, expanding their territories and populations substantially.

This project is funded by The Debs Foundation, a charitable trust that supports animal welfare and wildlife charities. Thank you!