CHILDREN at Kingswood Primary School have begun work on a wildlife and conservation project revolving around Water Voles.

The pupils have been studying and photographing the rodents just a short walk from their school on Abbey Street.

While the UK population of Water Voles has declined by 90 per cent in 40 years, a thriving population can still be found on the Ozleworth Brook running through the village.

Working with wildlife photographer and naturalist, Iain Green, the children have undertaken their first field study of the voles to learn about their habitat, food plants, territories, conservation issues and how to protect them.

School spokeswoman, Brenda Roberts, said: “With cameras and clipboards the children made comprehensive notes and were lucky enough to see around 10 voles through the day, including juveniles.

“One group of children even saw a pair of adult voles locked in a territorial dispute - something Iain has never seen.”

Water Voles are semi-aquatic and live on average about five months in the wild, mainly eating grass and plants near the water.

The pictures taken by the children and their ongoing study will form one part of a Wild Wonder Project, which involves a dozen Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset primary schools over the coming year.

It will culminate in an exhibition and eco-conference in 2015 which will showcase some the UK’s most spectacular wildlife through the eyes of children.