Watch as beavers are brought back to Derbyshire after 800-year absence

Beavers have been reintroduced in Derbyshire after being absent from the area for 800 years, with two pairs of the animals arriving at the start of the month.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 1:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th October 2021, 2:04 pm

A project by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has seen the species returned to the area at the Willington Wetlands Nature Reserve.

The beavers are from the River Tay in Scotland, but they travelled to Derbyshire with the Beaver Trust from Devon, where they were housed temporarily. They will live in a 40 hectare enclosure, and they will be observed to see how they react to their new home.

Katie Lemon, Regional Manager for Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, said: "It was a very special, magical moment and a privilege to be there, it was just as special as the first time last week. A massive thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen – who believed in us, supported us and donated.

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Beavers are being returned to Derbyshire for the first time in centuries.

"Animal reintroductions are time consuming and hugely complex but watching this pair wander into the water and swim around so contentedly and making themselves at home, made it all worthwhile.”

Having brought Beavers back to Derbyshire, the DWT hopes they will help to restore the ecosystem at Willington.

The trust said that, amongst other benefits, Beaver dams filter water as it passes through, improving its quality, and they also help to prevent flooding downstream by slowing the flow of water.

Matt Buckler, the DWT’s Head of Nature Recovery Networks and Henry Richards, Living Landscapes Officer, said beavers benefit the environment around them, and hope this project will lead to the species returning to the wild in the UK.

The reintroduction of the beavers promises to bring several environmental benefits.

“Beavers create a mosaic of habitats, they are ecosystem engineers, and experts in wetland management, creating more diverse habitats for inhabitants, from the smallest invertebrates to large mammals.

“We want to show people how great beavers are for wildlife, habitats and us humans as well.

“Our dream is that soon beavers will be allowed to live wild across the country, as they are in most of Europe, and we won’t need to fence them in.”

Visitors will be able to see the beavers just as they would the existing wildlife on the site. Information about the return of the beavers can be found here.

The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust hopes this project will eventually lead to beavers being allowed to live in the wild.