Wildlife makes a splash at Staward Gorge in Allen Banks

Rangers at the National Trust’s Allen Banks in the Tyne Valley have captured an otter family on video for the first time.

National Trust ranger Chris Johnson recently set up a wildlife video camera at Hagg Bank in Staward Gorge for a couple of weeks. The result is a recording showing an adult otter and two pups taking a dip in the River Allen.

The video is confirmation that a family of otters is not only living at Allen Banks, but breeding too, providing a good conservation measure by highlighting that the river is in great condition and able to support and attract not just the otters but other wildlife too.

Unfortunately, National Trust Rangers returned to the spot where the camera was located hoping to find new footage of the Otters, only to find the camera was gone.

Chris Johnson, told us:

“We’ve had reported sightings of otters for a while now but with them moving up and down the river so much it’s hard to pinpoint a specific area to set up a camera.

“Through a bit of animal investigation work and footprint tracking we narrowed it down to a small sandy beach which they seemed to use a lot, as they’re mammals that spend quite a lot of time on dry land. And it seems this is where they’ve set up home, or their holt.

"It’s very sad that somebody would steal a camera, particularly from a charity who are working hard to conserve our wildlife and countryside. Wildlife cameras allow us to get a glimpse of the shy and nocturnal creatures we otherwise wouldn’t see. ”

It’s not only otters that are making a splash; the River Allen is a great place to see some of the rarer water associated animals. Along with the otters you may spot kingfishers which have joined the herons and dippers in this wooded valley.

Chris continued, “It’s a huge help having volunteers as well as the public tell us about their wildlife sightings on National Trust land. We’re always looking for more volunteers to help us monitor the wildlife and carry out conservation work to further improve the habitat.”

To watch the otter video please visit: http://youtu.be/tIoeiSVbptw

If you would like to learn more about wildlife and volunteering please visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allenbanks