We've launched a fundraising appeal that we hope will help to create more habitat for Britain's fastest declining mammal, the water vole. We want to build vole-friendly soft banking and a new reed bed, as part of a wider project to make vital improvements to the towpath near Harlow. The special banking will be ideal for the voles to burrow in, make habitat and hide from predators, while the reed bed will provide a new and more abundant source for food.
Three pioneer funders are already providing funding to kick off the project: The Michael Marks Charitable Trust, Chapman Charitable Trust and Clark Bradbury Charitable Trust. However, we're still hoping to raise more funds to make this stretch, between the confluence with the River Lee and Lower Lock, a great habitat for water voles.
Desperately in need
Chantal Dave, Canal & River Trust environmental scientist, said: “Water voles are among the real characters of the waterways. They are small, fluffy and pretty cute, but they are desperately in need of our support if they are to continue to live in this area. We plan to make upgrades to the towpath on this section of the Stort and this is the ideal opportunity to improve the river bank to support water voles.
"We hope to get started this winter to give the water vole population the chance to thrive after their breeding season. Any support people provide us will enable us to get as much of the river bank improved as is possible.”