River Stort

A year of planning finally came to fruition when 188 water voles were released on the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust reserve at Thorley Wash nature on the River Stort. This joint project between Essex Wildlife Trust and Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is intended to kick-start a recolonisation of the catchment after 8 years of successful mink control failed to result in a return of a natural water vole population.

More than 50 volunteers and staff were been involved with the release and the work was featured on ITV Tonight on June 11th.

Thorley Wash sits on the Hertfordshire side of the border, but a successful funding bid to Thames Water's Community Action Fund by Michele Farrant and Darren Tansley will also result in habitat improvements to two Essex Wildlife Trust Reserves at Rushey Mead and Sawbridgeworth Marsh. Radio tracking of a small number of voles is also underway, but the majority of the monitoring will be through field signs checks on the reserve, and along the Stort Navigation in July and September. It is hoped that the Stort project, co-ordinated by Water for Wildlife Officer Darren Tansley, will result in a catchment scale re-colonisation that emulates the success of the River Colne Project undertaken between 2009-2014.

Between the first Essex water vole survey in 1990 and the start of the Essex Water Vole Recovery Project in 2007, water voles declined from 80% of their historic sites, to just 17%. A resurvey of the county is due shortly but it is estimated that water voles have now returned to approx 25-30% of these survey points and this is set to expand with the new re-introduction.


River Stort

WFD water body status


Project type

Water Vole Reintroduction

Project lead

Essex Wildlife Trust & Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Contact for more information

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website key stakeholders:

Environment Agency logo      Essex Wildlife Trust logo           ESWT Logo 70

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting based on an original concept by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust