Where to see water voles in the UK

Discover the four best places to spot the elusive water vole.


Water vole champion, Tom Moorhouse: “Once water voles were an everyday part of experiencing our countryside. Seeking them is a way of connecting with our past.” Tom is an ecologist and author


There is something undeniably Zen about the water vole, according to expert Tom Moorhouse. “They live in this amazingly dangerous environment where every predator – fox, heron, tawny owl, pike – wants to eat them, but they always look so relaxed, chewing calmly at grasses, rushes or sedges until alerted to danger.”

Water voles favour open wetlands away from tree cover, with lush vegetation that offers both food and protection. Search flat spots on banks for chopped up piles of vegetation and latrines of 1cm-long droppings.

If you do find these signs, put out some apples over the course of a few days, then return in early morning or late evening: you may be rewarded with a sighting of Ratty.

Best places to see a water vole 

  • Cardowan Moss, Glasgow
  • Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
  • Cromford Canal, Derbyshire
  • WWT Arundel, West Sussex