The water vole is one of Britain’s most endangered mammals.
A native of the British Isles, and popularised in modern culture as ‘Ratty’ in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, the water vole is a cherished resident of our rivers, canals, streams and ponds. But this once ever-present mammal, like so many others, is now in danger – during the 1990s Britain’s water vole population declined by over 80 per cent, and it is now fully protected by law in England and Wales.
In The Water Vole, Christine Gregory, author of Brown Hares in the Derbyshire Dales and A River in Time, tells the story of the water vole, past, present and future, principally through its history in the waterways of Derbyshire. Having spent several years studying Derbyshire’s water vole population and habitats, and capturing their behaviour intimately through her photography, Christine has developed a relationship with many of the custodians of the county’s waterways, who are vital to the survival of the water vole.
Decades of painstaking research into the decline of the water vole and the visionary work of conservationists give much cause for hope. Respecting our countryside and wild places and rebuilding the health of our rivers is key: we all have a role to play in the water vole’s future.
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