Posted 6th Sep 2013
As The Wildlife Trusts: Our Wetland Wildlife Weekend (7th-8th September) gets underway, we're celebrating the water vole and showing you how to attract these furry creatures in your garden
Gardens backing on to a stream, river, canal or other watercourse:
Leave a buffer strip (ideally two metres or wider) of grasses and other plants along the water's edge to provide food and cover for water voles. Mow the buffer strip once a year in autumn to limit scrub colonisation and increase plant diversity.
Keep banksides open to encourage the lush grasses and other green plants water voles favour.
Consider coppicing existing trees and shrubs to increase light levels if appropriate.
Gardens close to a river, stream, canal or other watercourse:
Create a pond with an adjacent wetland area, lining the pond in the traditional way with clay if you can, rather than with butyl or other synthetic materials.
Site your pond away from overhanging trees and check the location of service cables and drains before digging!
Give your pond a varied bank profile, with banks of around 45 degrees for water voles, and shallower sloping areas that can utilised by amphibians and invertebrates.
Ensure that the pond has areas where water is 25-50cm deep.
Ensure there is open space approximately 10cm deep along the base of at least one garden boundary to allow access for water voles and other wildlife.
Create a shelf around the edge of the pond that can be planted with marginal plants such as Yellow Flag Iris and rushes.
Make sure that you don't buy any non-native invasive aquatic plants for your pond.
Image courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts: John Harding