Brown Trout in the River Itchen

Brown Trout in the River Itchen

What can you spot here?

Although the City Mill is in the centre of Winchester, it's a location remarkably alive with wildlife. The crystal-clear waters of the Itchen teem with trout and even occasional salmon. Water voles are regularly spotted, kingfishers fish off the walls outside and a family of grey wagtails feeds on abundant mayfly and other insects in the garden.

We're lucky to be one of the only urban UK locations where otters are regularly recorded passing through.

Otters on the River Itchen

Reintroducing otters

 © Chris Bean. Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

In 1994, three otters were reintroduced to the River Itchen. Since then, these rare and elusive creatures have thrived. Regular sightings followed, in particular near the City Mill. In the late 1990s, a joint project between us and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust was set up to install observation equipment.

'Otter Watch' at the City Mill

Otter at Winchester City Mill, Hampshire © National Trust

The otters regular adventures are captured by a series of motion activated cameras that record them as they emerge from under the Mill to mark territory during hunts for food. Visitors can enjoy clips from regularly updated archive footage and view the live feed from our cameras along the river.

Otters on film

Otter swimming © Richard Crossen

Otters are so often spotted at the City Mill that TV and wildlife programmes have filmed with us or featured our footage. These include Country File, Spring Watch, The One Show and Panorama. In winter 2011, we began updating observational recording equipment to provide more accessible, higher definition footage.