Ratty’s Return – 100 endangered Water Voles released at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park


Wednesday 21 June 2017


A big step is being taken this week in the conservation of one of Wales’ most endangered species, as more than 100 water voles are to be released into Cosmeston Lakes Country Park.


Water Vole releaseThe UK’s population of water voles – a creature immortalised by Ratty in the children’s book The Wind in the Willows - has reduced by up to 95 per cent since the 1960s. This is largely due to a loss of habitat. To combat this, the Vale of Glamorgan Council has worked with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to develop a specially prepared environment in which the rodents can live and breed.


On Tuesday 20 June 2017 a ‘soft release’ of the water voles, which have been bred at a number of sites across the UK, began.


The team at Cosmeston will be on hand throughout the week to help them adjust to their new environment.


Over the course of the week the food and artificial nests in which the animals have been reared will be removed and the community of voles will be left to enjoy their new home.  



The project is the first such collaboration between NRW and a local authority since a successful pilot project in Carmarthenshire in 2014.


“Water voles were once common in rivers, canals and ponds across Wales, and an important part of our environment. Habitat loss and predation by American mink have reduced their numbers and they’re now endangered.


Our work to breed them at our hatchery in mid Wales and our partnership with local authorities, wildlife trusts and land owners to improve habitats and to set up new populations, will boost their chance of survival.”


Richard Davies, Fish Culture Officer for Natural Resources Wales


Bird on driftwood

Habitats and Wildlife 

The Vale of Glamorgan's coast and countryside hold an amazing diversity of flora and fauna, making it one of the richest areas of biodiversity and natural beauty in south wales. The landscape ranges from plunging cliffs to rolling farmland and includes a range of dynamic ecosystems some left wild and many sensitively managed by the Ranger Service.


Habitats and Wildlife


“The park is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and its lakes, ditches, reedbeds and other plant life make for the perfect habitat for water voles to thrive.


Here at Cosmeston we do a great amount of work with local schools and voluntary groups to promote conservation and following this week’s release that will become the focus of our work with the creatures. We will be teaching children and young people about the importance of helping preserve the habitats of indigenous creatures and of the risks that come with introducing new species to the ecosystem.”

Aaron Jones, Country Park Ranger at Cosmeston

Cosmeston Lakes

Cosmeston Lakes Country Park 

Cosmeston has a variety of habitats covering over 100 hectares of land and water, some areas designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest protecting the rare and diverse plant and animal species. The Country park opened to the public in 1978 and gained Local Nature Reserve status in May 2013. Today Cosmeston Lakes Country Park is a haven for local wildlife.  



Cosmeston Lakes Country Park