AN APPEAL has been launched to raise funds for a project to protect water voles and their habitats in West Oxfordshire.

Although nationally the number of water voles is declining, populations of the animals have increased in the district, particularly in the River Cole and the upper River Thames near Bampton, the River Glyme near Woodstock, and the River Windrush, over the past few years.

But the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust says more work is needed to build on this success and help voles elsewhere in the region, with external funding starting to dry up.

Julia Lofthouse, BBOWT’s water vole project officer, said: “Although we’ve seen an increase in populations, voles can disappear as readily as they arrive.

“My worry is that if we turn our backs, even momentarily, all our good work could be undone.”

  • For more details and to donate to the appeal, see