Beavers are back in the Midlands thanks to Severn Trent support

Wednesday 29th September 2021

Beavers have been reintroduced to Derbyshire after 800 years – a project Severn Trent has supported through it’s Great Big Nature Boost.

Working in partnership with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, two adult beavers were released into Willington Wetlands Nature Reserve this week. The male and female are enclosed within the 46 hectare reserve by five km of beaver proof fencing and kept a close eye on by volunteers and trail cameras.

Graham Osborn, Principal Ecologist for Severn Trent, said:“It’s fantastic to see beavers return to Derbyshire after all this time. It’s a project we’re proud to support through our Great Big Nature Boost scheme, because what’s good for nature is good for water too.

“This project isn't just about the reintroduction of a lost species. It's about the regeneration of healthy wetland habitat. We’re excited to see how these beavers can use their engineering talents to transform Willington Wetlands."

Graham added: “We’re always looking for more nature-based solutions to reduce the risk of flooding and beavers can help by capturing and cleaning nearby waterways.”

Not only is it a reintroduction of a lost species not seen in Derbyshire for 800 years, but beavers are key to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s goal for a wilder Derbyshire.

Kate Lemon, Regional Manager at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, added:“This is such an exciting moment for a wilder Derbyshire – the whole team at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have been carefully planning this for the last three years and its huge thanks to our Trustees, funders volunteers and supporters that we’re here today.

“This is just the beginning, these beavers will help us to shape, improve and care for our wetland area in Willington and in time, with the monitoring work we have planned, we will understand more and be able to show how they could play a crucial role helping us to respond to the impacts of a changing climate.”

Beavers are often referred to as 'ecosystem engineers'. They make changes to their habitats, such as coppicing trees and shrub species, damming smaller water courses and digging 'beaver canal' systems.

These activities create diverse and dynamic wetlands - helping to connect floodplains with their watercourses. In turn, these wetlands can bring enormous benefits to more wildlife including otters, water voles, kingfisher, egret, frogs, toads, dragonflies and fish, as well as locking up carbon.

Plans are underway to reintroduce beavers in Nottinghamshire – a project Severn Trent is also supporting.