Protected Species Surveys

Water Vole Surveys

Wildwood Ecology can undertake water vole surveys of your land (or proposed land purchase) as part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal or as a stand alone protected species survey. Subsequent detailed surveys to inform appropriate levels of mitigation or compensation for a development strategy can also be performed. We have experienced surveyors who can identify their presence or likely absence and inform you at the earliest opportunity should any issues be identified.

Methods of water vole surveys include searches for signs of water vole activity and presence (facaes, latrines, feeding stations, burrows, lawns, nests, footprints, and runways).

For further information on our water vole
or other protected species surveys,
contact us

Water Vole legislation and protection

Water voles are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) in Wales and England, making it illegal to:

  • Intentional kill, injure or take a water vole
  • Intentionally or recklessly damage, destroy or obstruct access to any structure or place used by a water vole for shelter or protection, or disturb a water vole occupying such a place

The water vole is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority species.

Did you know

The Water vole, Arvicola amphibius, is patchily distributed throughout the UK, although it does have a stronghold in the south and east of England.

They have suffered massive declines in population numbers over the past century due to loss of habitat, exacerbated by predation from the introduced American mink.

Water voles are semi-aquatic rodents who usually live for no more than three years. They live in burrows dug into the banks of calm streams, rivers and ditch systems, but also within other water bodies such as reed beds. They mainly feed on the stems and leaves of waterside plants, but will also eat fruits, roots, bark and bulbs.

Water voles prefer sites with swathes of riparian vegetation (tall grasses, rushes, sedges, reeds) providing cover and food, with easily-penetrable banks, and slow flowing relatively-deep water.

Protected Species Surveys