Panel C – Vole Habitat
Prior to starting major lining works on the Entrance and Lower Basins it was discovered that a small colony of water voles were living in the Lower Basin Arm. Before the works could start a new habitat for the voles had to be constructed. This entailed extensive reshaping of the bank on the opposite side of the canal, here known as The Wide or Wide Hole according to elderly Bugsworth residents.
This is the well-known ‘Ratty’ of Wind in the Willows. The Water Vole needs natural water edge habitat but sadly this character of the river and canal bank seems to be disappearing. Anglers and boaters are the most likely people to see the water vole swimming in quiet waters.
The Bugsworth Basin Vole Habitat
Construction of the Vole Habitat started in 1999.
The native water vole (Arvicola Terrestris) is an endangered species in England and is protected by law. British Waterways, now the Canal and River Trust, supported by the Inland Waterways Protection Society Ltd, now BBHT, commissioned Dew Pitchmastic Specialist Contractors Ltd to construct a new habitat for the colony at a cost of £35,000. The Project was supported by the then Waterways Trust.
The vole habitat is arranged as a two step tier with a shallow pond between where the voles can burrow from into the soft upper bank.
August 2004 saw the Inland Waterways Protection Society receive Second Prize in the Derbyshire Greenwatch Awards for the Bugsworth Basin Water Vole Conservation Scheme presented by the Leader, Derbyshire County Council, Cllr John Williams.