The Orkney Vole is a small rodent found on the Orkney Islands, Scotland.

Its closest relative is the Common Vole, however, this vole is known to be larger than those from other populations.

What conservation efforts are we making at Fernvalley?

We are lucky enough to have a population of Orkney Voles on Fernvalley land. As such when we did the initial transformation of the old land and building at the Centre we took this into account and set in place the following measures to ensure the population was not disturbed.

  • Old rough grass bankings were left in place right around the existing building to allow the voles to pass through from one area to another without the need to leave shelter.
  • Grass verges along the track are left wild to preserve the runs of the voles who often build tunnels here.
  • Our 3 acre field is currently undergoing re-growth of grass to further establish suitable land. Various sections have been set aside for tree planting for other native wildlife while keeping surrounding areas 'wild' for the vole population.
  • We now have a 'Orkney Vole Walk' on the land which can be walked by visitors. The small maintained path weaves through the rough untouched grass of the Orkney Voles habitat. This way we can preserve the land for the vole while educating visitors on this unique species through the use of signage and visual evidence of this rodents presence. We can also encourage conversion of disused or field edges for the future of the Orkney Vole.
  • We don't use any pesticides or chemicals on our premises or land.

The Orkney Vole is readily found in suitable habitats such as rough grassland and old peat cutting areas on moorland, where they can find adequate shelter and food. However, the area of such has been decreasing over the past 40 years and the population of the Orkney Vole has suffered as a result.

Habitat loss has been linked to the decline of the species. This is mainly due to changes in agriculture. Much of the rough grassland and hills has been converted to improved grassland through drainage, fertilising and reseeding for increased numbers of livestock.

Why are they in trouble?

  • Protect and extend rough grassland corridors along ditch and burn margins, farm boundaries and grassy tracks.
  • Create uncut grass margins along field edges and protect them from grazing.
  • Where possible protect old peat cuttings from grazing
  • Leave field corners uncultivated and protect them from grazing livestock
  • Create 'wildlife corridors' between fields and garden areas

What can you do to help the Orkney Vole?

Orkney Vole conservation 

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What are Orkney Voles?