Target Habitats and Species

The Cotswold Rivers programme covers a variety of habitats and species, including the protected water vole


River And Streams

Cotswold rivers and streams are generally of high water quality, supporting a diverse range of aquatic life.

Unimproved Limestone Grassland

Unimproved limestone grassland supports a very rich flora and associated invertebrates. This habitat is still found along the scarps of the Cotswold river valleys.

Unimproved Neutral Grassland

Unimproved neutral grassland occurs on the lower slopes with deeper soils and usually close to the rivers. This type of grassland is traditionally cut for hay.

Base-Rich Marsh

This habitat occurs where springs emerge and is noted for its rare flora communities.

Arable Land

Farming is the main land use, determining the wildlife character of more than 80% of the Cotswolds and arable cropping accounts for roughly half of this. The Cotswold limestone geology determines the species composition of the area, which contains priority farmland species of birds and arable weeds.



Water Vole

Water voles have disappeared from whole river systems across the county and the species now only survives in remnant key population areas, including the Cotswold Rivers.

The main reasons for the dramatic decline in our water voles are habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, and predation by introduced American mink.

Agricultural intensification, unsympathetic river management, drainage of wetland marshes/ponds and building development have all contributed to the loss of the water vole’s wetland habitat.

Water voles are now so rare that the remaining populations are increasingly isolated and particularly vulnerable to further habitat loss, mink predation, flooding and excessive disturbance.


There are also the following species in the Cotswold Rivers area:

• otter, water shrew and bats
• kingfishers, dipper, barn owl, grey wagtail and farmland birds
• brown trout, bullhead, grayling, eel and brook lamprey
• white clawed crayfish, dragonflies and butterflies
• limestone grassland flora



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Managing Land For Water Voles.837.99 KB

A-Z of Wildlife

Photo of Water Vole

Name: Water Vole

Scientific name: Arvicola amphibius

Category: Mammals

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