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Water Voles are back in Hemel Hempstead

24 September 19

Water Voles are back in Hemel Hempstead

An iconic species was reintroduced to the River Bulbourne in Hemel Hempstead, earlier in September, thanks to the hard work of dozens of volunteers from the Box Moor Trust and funding from the Canal and River Trusts and local water supplier, Affinity Water.

In September, 177 water voles were released into the river near historic grazing ground at Hemel Hempstead. The hope is that the voles will start to breed and colonise the area and gradually spread along the Bulbourne Valley towards the River Colne.

Water Voles have been in serious decline, particularly over the last 30 years mainly due to predation by Mink, which are an invasive species bought to British Isles as part of the fur trade with North America.

David Watts, Affinity Water said: “Affinity Water is very proud to be able to contribute to this exciting and valuable project. Water may be our business, but we also want to do our bit to improve the local environment and enhance biodiversity across our supply area and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work with the Box Moor Trust to reintroduce Water Voles, an iconic species, back into the Bulbourne.”

David Kirk, Chair of the Box Moor Trust emphasised that: “The contribution of £6,000 from Affinity Water ensured that we had sufficient funds for phase 1. Whilst the Trust’s contribution over the last 3 years has been staff involvement and many hundreds of hours of volunteer time, it was essential to confirm funding for the supply of Voles and time by Derek Gow Consultancy.”

“The introduction of 177 Voles went very smoothly and, within days, we had reports of people hearing that familiar ‘plop’ as a Vole drops into the water. The fight against Mink continues and we hope to carry out two more phases of water vole introduction locally in 2020 and 2021 in the hope of achieving a stable population throughout our many miles of waterway bank.”


You can also help the Box Moor Trust to ensure the Water Voles get a good start in their new habitat:

  1. If you see a mink in the Box Moor area in the coming months please inform the Box Moor Trust office of the exact location on 01442 253300
  2. Through the autumn and winter, you could aid Box Moor monitoring work by reporting sightings of Water Vole between Apsley and Bourne End
  3. Join as a volunteer and get involved in all sorts of habitat improvements, outdoor education events and heritage work around Hemel Hempstead and Bovingdon.

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