The water vole is an iconic species for Maidenhead because Kenneth Grahame, while living in Winter Hill, created the character 'Ratty' in Wind in the Willows. 'Ratty' is actually a water vole and not a rat.
What's happening with water voles in Maidenhead?
Water voles are the fastest declining mammal in the UK, largely because of mink. Sadly, considering the historical significance of water voles to Maidenhead, BBOWT's Water Vole Recovery Project has no current records of voles in the area. Historically they were recorded at Holyport to the south and Cookham to the north but the last positive survey result was from Cookham in 2008 and all subsequent surveys of the area have been negative.
What can I do?
It is highly unlikely, but not impossible, that local people will see a water vole where they live. If so, please report it to us as soon as possible so that we can undertake further work to check for their presence. They are not likely to be seen in areas with regular human activity or where mink are active.
It's possible that, in the future, a project to support habitats for water voles may be feasible. If this were to happen, we would need volunteers to help.