A documentary by a young filmmaker has set the spotlight on one of Nantwich’s rarest creatures, the water vole.

Simon Goodall approached Cheshire Wildlife Trust, who have been monitoring the rare mammals on the Shropshire Union Canal.

He filmed and produced the package in just two weeks, capturing the heart of the water vole’s life on one of the busiest canals in the region.

Simon, a student at Salford University, explains how voles have come to see the canal as a safe haven, and the threats they face with the unenviable title of our fastest declining British mammal.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust has been working with partners to map the fortunes of water voles across the Cheshire region.

The project is funded by Heritage Lottery, Chester Zoo, the Environment Agency and the Canal and River Trust.

Last year, the project saw 52 separate water vole surveys across dozens of kilometres of local rivers, with the equivalent of almost 300 hours of surveys taken on by volunteers.

The presence of water voles was noted in four out of ten sites last year, but it is unclear how unseasonal weather may affect results in 2013.

Dr Vicky Nall, project officer at Cheshire Wildlife Trust, said: “What Simon has achieved with this film in such a short time is remarkable.

“Although the Nantwich water vole population is one of the most obliging in the region, it still takes a lot of patience and dedication to capture the sort of footage Simon has managed to get.

“He’s put it together with some delightful images of other wildlife which all in all gives a real sense of the day-to-day lives of the voles.

“We hope it will really inspire others to keep an eye out for water voles in Cheshire and help us build an even better picture of how these charismatic creatures are faring.”

Simon added: “Wildlife Trusts do a fantastic job helping wildlife across Britain, so I really wanted to support them with this project.

“The canal in Nantwich isn’t optimal for these wonderful little mammals so it is fascinating how they are able to turn it in to such a great habitat.

“I hope the film helps encourages people to head out to enjoy the pleasure of watching wildlife and encountering animal behaviour.”

The film can be viewed through the Trust’s website here http://www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/news/2013/06/24/new-film-shines-spotlight-water-voles

Simon Goodall

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