Water voles were once common across most of the British Isles, at the turn of the 20th Century their population was around 8 million. They were a common sight and sound in any slow flowing waterway and were considered by many as a species of languid lowland streams. Only in the past few decades have we begun to realise the importance of upland habitats for water voles.
The value of upland streams has been highlighted to an extent, by the dramatic decline of water voles from much of their lowland range. With more than a 90% population decline since the 1900s, some upland areas, such as the North Pennines, now hold a significant amount of the water vole population and may provide relatively safe havens.
You may ask, why have upland vole populations faired so much better than their lowland counterparts?