You’ll be in for a furry surprise, especially at Hilcote setback outfall on Normanton Brook in South Bolsover District, Derbyshire.  A local wildlife photographer Ian Wilson has told us that he has spotted 5, yes 5 Water Voles around the outfall.

Hilcote setback outfall is a project we successfully delivered in Spring 2019. The outfall brings rainwater off the nearby industrial estate directly to Normanton Brook.  Meaning any pollutants in the rainwater, say from a road spillage would find their way directly into the Brook.

Our project removed 25 metres of concrete outfall to create space to build a backwater and a swale. These intercept possible pollution, allowing it to breakdown before reaching the brook, improving the habitat for wildlife, particularly the water voles that live in the Brook.

Water voles (commonly known as the Water Rat – remember Ratty from Wind in the Willows?  He was a Water Vole) are the largest species of vole in Britain.  Water voles have undergone one of the most serious declines of any wild mammal in Britain during the 20th century. Loss and degradation of habitat, are major causes of decline as is the introduction of the American Mink .  It is thought that between 1989 and 1998, the population fell by almost 90 per cent!

So back to the Hilcote Five – how fantastic that our project has delivered an improved habitat, now where did I put that copy of Wind in the Willows?