Podcast: wildlife on the water

Join us as we seek out native water voles, go recording with a sound design artist, peep inside bat boxes and search for signs of elusive bitterns in Lee Valley Park

Podcast Episode 5 photo

Illustration: Ruth Allen

The fourth in our series of exclusive podcasts explores stories surrounding the diverse range of wildlife that calls our waterways home. Trust ecologist Laura Mullholland surveys the habitat surrounding Caen Hill Lock flight in Devizes, Wiltshire, in search of a one of Britain’s most threatened native species: the water vole. Composer and field recording artist Pascal Wise takes a walk down the Regent’s Canal, exploring the intricate web of human and natural sounds you can record on your journey down the towpath, before inviting us to listen to his recordings of seabird colonies in St Kilda and penguins in Antarctica. Paul Wilkinson, Senior Ecologist for Trust’s environment team, introduces us to the new Friends-funded bat boxes at Gailey Reservoir in Staffordshire, and explains what attracts some of the 18 species of British bat to our inland waterways. And finally, Cath Patrick, Senior Conservation Officer with Lee Valley Park Authority invites us on a foray to Fishers Green in search of elusive bitterns, telling tales of their fluctuating status – from a popular main course at Tudor banquets and extinction in the 1880s to their return to our rivers after huge conservation efforts.


Listen to previous episodes

Episode three: Lost and Found

Meet the adult offspring of stevedores and tramp ship sailors to discover the lost history of London’s docks; join us as we kayak along the Leeds and Liverpool with an Olympic torchbearer and find out why industrialisation turned Manchester’s snow purple.


Episode two: Open Air University

Join us as we chat to a boxer who trained on the towpaths in the 1960s, journey with a cloud-spotter on a canoe and share the story of a group of teenagers travelling from Stratford in east London to Stratford-upon-Avon on a Shakespearean quest.


Episode one: Sacred Canals

In our first exclusive podcast, we explore the idea of water being sacred and hear from people who have a powerful relationship with the waterways.