Water voles are extremely rare in Devon and Dorset and we are very pleased to have resident voles in the River Axe whose source is on East Axnoller Farm in Beaminster, Dorset. Voles only live in clean water and we go to great lengths to protect the water courses at East Axnoller Farm by ensuring all the dirty water from the donkey areas is safely collected in our huge dirty water tank. This is then pumped up to the top of the farm where it can be combined with the donkey manure to facilitate the composting process and ultimately producing a fertilizing soil conditioner which is recycled back onto our land.
In order to maintain the River Axe and the streams that feed it we have combined forces with the East Devon Councilto pull up Himalayan Balsam, an invasive plant that was introduced to Kew Gardens in1839 but escaped to the wild and is now naturalised in the British Isles. It is invasive and thrives in wetland areas, growing up to 2 metres high. Himalayan Balsam will destroy the habitat for the voles and the seeds will wash downstream spreading this plant across Dorset and into Devon so we are keen to support the council in helping to remove this plant. You may well have seen the smaller variety of Himalayan Balsam: the bedding plant Impatiens more commonly known as Busy Lizzie.