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Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Thursday, 1 July 2010 11:09 UK
'Haven' for water vole opens in Gloucestershire

A water vole swims off after release at Hempsted near Gloucester (Photo: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire)
Nind Nature Reserve has a hidden miniature wetland, ideal for water vole

A former trout farm in Gloucestershire, said to be a "haven for water vole", is being re-opened as a nature reserve.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has leased the land at Kingswood, near Wotton-under-Edge, and has turned it into its 60th nature reserve.

There is a hidden miniature wetland on the site, which is ideal for wildlife and animals such as the much-loved but elusive water vole - now one of the UK's rarest mammals.

"The wildlife on this, our newest reserve, doesn't actually need a lot of management because it just likes it wet and slightly scruffy!" said Tom Burditt from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

Before we got involved with the trust we had no idea what a special place this could be for all sorts of creatures and plants - especially the water voles.
Ben Read, landowner

"However, we have been working to keep the water levels high and flowing, to stop the American mink, and to prevent the scrub and trees from taking over.

"Nind Nature Reserve is a lovely tranquil place thriving with mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants."

Landowners Ben and Anna Read are "delighted" the wildlife trust will now be managing the land once used as a trout farm.

"Before we got involved with the trust we had no idea what a special place this could be for all sorts of creatures and plants - especially the water voles," added Ben.

"Local people are fascinated by the work that's gone on here and looking forward to the official opening.

WATER VOLE FACTS
Live in the banks of ditches, dykes, slow moving rivers and streams and grasslands
Live for two years
Male voles can swim for 130m, females for 70m
They are 12-20cm long and weigh 20g-320g
Are hunted by American minks, stoats, owls, herons, large fish, foxes and cats

"Our children are just babies, but we take them through the reserve every evening and as they grow we're hoping they will be able to learn a lot more about wildlife than we did when we were young!"

Nind Nature Reserve will be officially opened at 6pm on Thursday, 1 July, 2010.

Local scouts who have worked to improve wildlife habitats at the reserve will help cut a cake decorated with a water vole.

For purposes of finding the reserve, visit the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust website for directions or use the postcode (for sat nav purposes) is GL12 7QU. The OS grid reference is ST 756915.




SEE ALSO
Water voles make a comeback in UK
22 Jun 10 |  Science & Environment
Fry makes plea to save water vole
17 Oct 09 |  Gloucestershire
Water voles reintroduced to river
24 Aug 09 |  Wales
Voles taken to breeding centre
18 Feb 09 |  England
Voles to be released at reserve
21 May 08 |  Gloucestershire

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