Surveying for water voles


The start of the water vole survey season coincides with the start of the water vole breeding season. It is only once breeding territories are marked with piles of droppings (latrines) that we can safely say that water voles are present and active. During the winter months, when the voles are living communally in burrows, their presence can be missed as they pile their droppings and feeding remains in underground compost heaps that act as radiators.

Once the bankside vegetation starts to emerge then we can also begin Habitat Suitability Assessments for water voles. These surveys let us know whether a site is suitable for water voles without having to spend a long time looking for them, allowing a much larger area to be surveyed in a day.

If water vole signs are found a full water vole survey will then be carried out. Because these assessments can be carried out from the bank they are suitable for volunteers to conduct independently, email Vicky vnall@cheshirewt.org.uk or Chris cmeredith@cheshirewt.org.uk if you are interested in helping assess a watercourse near you.


The Meres and Mosses Landscape Partnership is being run across the Shropshire and Cheshire border to try and protect the intricate mosaic of wetlands there, now designated as a Nature Improvement Area (NIA). The Cheshire Water Vole Project is lending a hand by helping with both habitat suitability assessments and water vole surveys of South Cheshire, both in and around the NIA.


Download a copy of our advice leaflets today:

You can also now enter your Habitat Suitability Assessment or recent wildlife sightings form online.