Tackley History Mysteries No. 9
Have Otters Returned to Tackley?
On 8 May 1947 the Banbury Guardian reported that an angler had seen four otters
working the River Cherwell at Tackley. Sightings of otters before then were common, and they
were regularly hunted locally. But hunting, habitat loss and extensive use of pesticides meant
that during the 1950s they began to disappear from here and most of the UK. By the 1970s they
were largely confined to Scotland, West Wales and the West Country.
They are now returning. Over the last ten years there has been an increase in sightings along
the Cherwell, from Oxford city to north of Banbury, though as yet none at Tackley. But they are
close by. Neil Wilson has seen them at the
reserve, through which the river Ray flows before joining the Cherwell at Islip. There has been
evidence of otters at the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust
reserves further up the Ray. And John Cooper saw them about four years ago near
Shipton-on-Cherwell. Have they reached Tackley?
Otters have an acute sense of smell, hearing and eyesight; and they are shy creatures, so you
are more likely to spot their spraint (poo/scat) or see their claw marks than an otter itself.
They have large territories and can travel as much as 20 miles between river systems and food
sources. They could also be moving along the valleys of the Dorn and Glyme.
For more information on these elusive animals and what to look out for see
The Wildlife Trusts and
The Mammal Society.
If you have seen an otter or evidence of their presence near Tackley, let us know and we will
pass the information on to The Otter Trust.
Research and text: John Perkins & Rachel Strachan