After the installation of a 5km stretch of a new mains water supply near Reading, Thomson Habitats were commissioned to follow this work to improve the adjacent area for water voles, a Priority Species under the current UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
The work has involved creating 18 new scalloped areas along existing ditch lines adapting the bank sides for water voles enabling them to create new burrows and find suitable feeding and latrine areas. In addition to this, we have enhanced the individual ditches by clearing overhanging branches and thick undergrowth letting more light enter the ditch system. We have used the lightest possible equipment including hand tools, to minimize any negative impact on the existing environment.
We have installed stock fencing around the scalloped areas to protect them from livestock, and we will soon be reinstating lines of hedgerows affected by the pipe installation, in order to keep these natural wildlife corridors. This programme of work will include planting hundreds of native species hedge plants and individual trees. We are protecting the new plants with fencing and guards. These areas will be actively managed for the next 5 years to maintain the condition of these habitats.