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News article created on 9 March 2013

Vole’nteer and make friends

Make friends and help conserve one of the nation’s most endangered mammals by joining our volunteers at Hanwell Lock Flight in Ealing from 10am – 3.30pm on Tuesday 19 March 2013.

Everyone is welcome to come along and do something good for the canal Rebecca Williams, volunteer team leader

Hanwell Lock Flight on the Grand Union Canal is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the most impressive lock flight in London.  It is a haven for wildlife and the local community and now, thanks to volunteers and £25,000 of funding from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, is set to become home to the humble water vole.

Immortalised as Ratty in Wind in the Willows, the water vole was once common on the nation’s waterways but population numbers have plummeted by 90% in recent decades. The work being completed is vital for establishing new habitat for the at-risk mammal and will, importantly, connect the canal with an adjacent colony of water voles in a nearby pond.

The volunteer work at Hanwell on 19 March is part of our Towpath Taskforce event which takes place every third Tuesday of the month in West London.  Volunteers can just turn up at Towpath Taskforce events and help in a range of hands-on activities to help look after their local stretch of 200-year old canal.  The water vole habitat creation work at Hanwell is also being supported by Ealing Rangers and the Friends of Hanwell Flight, who regularly meet at the lock flight to undertake a range of activity to help look after this important London landmark.

Rebecca Williams, volunteer team leader for the Canal & River Trust, comments:  “Everyone is welcome to come along and do something good for the canal and very significant for London’s water vole population.  We’ll provide the teas and coffees, so just bring your lunch and wear appropriate footwear and clothing.”