WATER VOLES ENLIST ALLIES IN THE COTSWOLDS
Tuesday 9th October 2012
Cotswold Rivers Volunteers scrub bashing in Sherbourne
Dedicated volunteers have given over £10,000 worth of their time to help save the water vole and other river wildlife throughout the Cotswolds as part of a project for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
The local conservation charity requested the help of local volunteers just over a year ago. Since then 117 volunteers have stepped forward and provided 1,197 hours of their precious time to help the Trust’s Cotswold Rivers Living Landscape Programme.
It’s been hard work, sometimes in the rain, but always great fun
Jane Ford, a volunteer from Naunton said: "It's been great helping to improve the environment for our wildlife. It’s been hard work, sometimes in the rain, but always great fun. It's been a chance to work in a team, meet new people, learn a lot about our local environment and, overall, feel as if we've made a positive contribution."
The volunteers put their hands to anything, and have helped with a huge variety of tasks. In the last year they have built 15 barn owl boxes, cleared overshading scrub, rebuilt degraded riverbanks using hazel bundles from the Trust’s Lower Woods nature reserve, surveyed river systems for water voles, removed invasive plants such as Himalayan balsam and constructed mink rafts.
Having the support of such a huge number of people who are willing to give up their time to help our wonderful wildlife is astounding.
Will Masefield, the Trust’s Cotswold Rivers Community Wildlife Officer said: “Having the support of such a huge number of people who are willing to give up their time to help our wonderful wildlife is astounding.”
The Trust still needs more volunteers from around the Cotswolds to continue to help with their work on the Windrush, Coln and Churn river systems. To find out more about becoming a volunteer contact Will Masefield on 07739 307056 or by email.
The Trust’s Cotswold Rivers Living Landscape Programme has been kindly funded by Heritage Lottery Fund which gave a grant of £48,600 to the project in September 2010. The programme aims to enhance and connect the habitat of Gloucestershire's water voles which are under threat of extinction, whilst protecting other river wildlife, such as kingfishers, trout and otters.