COUNTRYSIDE campaigners say a recent spotting of an otter in the River Frome near Iron Acton proves the importance of protecting our waterways and the wildlife that use them.
The otter was filmed swimming in the river at Algars Mill close to the Frampton End Lane bridge in September.
Campaign group VALID (Villagers Against Local Inappropriate Development), which has reactivated in recent months, amid concerns about future developments in Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath, organised a walk on the Frome Valley walkway which passed Algars Mill shortly after the sighting by a resident, who captured the otter on video.
They have teamed up with Frampton Cotterell Nature Group to campaign to save the countryside and Green Belt, both for local residents and wildlife.
Frampton Nature Group founder David Hanks said: “It’s great to see otters there – my hope is that the otters will displace the non-native minks, and allow water voles to return.
“Algars Manor was always the place to see Water Voles when I was young.”
VALID organiser Dave Hockey said: “The otter had probably been feeding on the invasive species of crayfish which are now commonplace in the Yate stretch of the River Frome.”
The group is inviting members of the public to join them on a series of public walks in the local countryside, to highlight the wildlife that could be at risk.
The next Save Our Countryside walk will start from opposite the Frome Valley Medical Centre, Bristol Road, Frampton Cotterell, at 2.30pm on October 14.
Dave added: “We will walk along the footpath to The Old Withy Bed, home to woodpeckers and nuthatches. Everyone welcome!”
Top picture: Frampton Cotterell Nature’s David Hanks photographed this otter further downstream in the River Frome