Course: Water Voles - Ecology, Survey & Re-wilding Experience - Residential

The Species Recovery Trust & Coombeshead Farm

Lifton, Devon
16th - 17th June 2022

Cost: £160

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

A 2 day course giving participants the skills to carry out Water Vole surveys and gain a better understanding of their behaviour, ecology and conservation. The course includes an evening Beaver experience and re-wildling tour of Coombeshead Farm, with a chance to see some of the rewilding helpers such as beaver, wild pigs, ponies, mouflon and heck cattle. 

 Accommodation is not included, however the site offers beautiful Shepherd’s huts & camping which overlook the re-wilding area. This can be booked directly with the farm and a discounted rate will be provided to those who attend the course. 

Tutor: Peter Cooper, with an introduction from Derek Gow

About the tutor:

Pete is an ecologist and conservationist with 4 years professional experience based in the UK, fuelled by a lifetime as a naturalist. He first started volunteering with the Coombeshead animal care team in 2015 while studying for a BSc in Zoology and then an MSc in Biodiversity & Conservation, before becoming part of the team working on native species reintroductions. When Pete isn’t assisting tours and workshops, he is working on restoration projects such as wildcat feasibility, harvest mouse reintroduction and managing the new captive breeding and release programme for glow-worms.

Course Details:

The water vole has suffered a catastrophic decline over the last century, but they are still found widely occurring across the UK, sometimes in unexpected habitat. As such, it is hugely important to be able to recognise their signs and understand their ecological requirements.

The course will cover the following topics:

  • Water vole biology, ecology and field signs
  • The history of water voles in Britain
  • Legal status of water voles
  • Factors in water vole decline
  • Water vole conservation - habitat restoration and mink control
  • Conservation case studies

The workshop is being held at the headquarters of the UK water vole captive breeding centre, and will include an opportunity to handle and observe water voles.

This workshop will be suitable for beginners and improvers alike.



  • 2pm: Afternoon taught session
  • 7pm: Beaver experience


  • 9am: Second taught session
  • 11:30am: Re-wilding tour
  • 1pm: Lunch

NB - elements of this course will be taught indoors, the room is well ventilated, but please be aware of this if you are shielding.

Booking Details:

The hosts at Coombeshead Farm will meet you on arrival. Lunch will be provided following the Re-wilding tour on the Friday with vegetarian and vegan options available.

We highly recommend staying overnight in the beautiful Shepherd huts or camping area available on site. On confirmation of the booking, a promo code will be provided to claim discounted acccommodation rates at the farm during your stay. Dinner & breakfast options will be provided by Coombeshead if staying on-site. This can all be arranged via the Coobeshead website.

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