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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 11:17 GMT
Ratty's willow home under threat
Water vole
Water voles are one of the UK's most endangered species
A wildlife trust has one month to save an area of land thought to have been the inspiration behind Kenneth Grahame's book The Wind in the Willows.

The site, by the Moor Copse Nature Reserve, near Reading, Berkshire, runs along the River Pang, where Grahame is said to have seen the original Ratty.

The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) has launched an appeal to help raise 235,000 to buy the land.

The trust described the site as a "unique wildlife haven".

'Dramatic decline'

BBOWT said if successful, it would amalgamate the area with the Moor Copse Nature Reserve, doubling the size of the current wetland.

Moor Copse Nature Reserve, courtesy of Jim Asher
Spotted flycatchers are among other species at the reserve

The trust said water voles, which are still found in the east of the land up for sale, would be one of the threatened wildlife species to benefit.

Nigel Phillips, head of reserves at the BBOWT, said: "Our aim is to create new habitats that will allow wildlife, including water voles, to thrive.

"The number of meadows and woodland sites in Berkshire has declined dramatically in recent years due to redevelopment.

"Protecting this piece of land would not only be wonderful for wildlife, but for people too."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
See more on fight to save riverbank



SEE ALSO
Ratty makes comeback along river
24 Aug 06 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
'Ratty' gets own protected area
16 Aug 06 |  England

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