Beavers - a three month update

Time flies. It’s already been three months since we released a pair of beavers into Hatchmere Nature Reserve!

Kevin Feeney, Hatchmere Living Landscape Officer has been keeping a close eye on them to see how they’re settling in and exploring their Cheshire home.

“As they continue to settle into their new home, they’re starting to feed further away from the release pond with lots of trails appearing on regular routes. I’ve managed to spot them nesting up in bramble during the recent heavy rain”.

Join Kev for a virtual tour of Hatchmere Nature Reserve to see how the beavers are settling in. Find out what they’ve been eating and see the beginnings of their lodge, an emerging ‘beaver highway’ and the positive impact they’re already having on other species.

Our work to bring beavers back to Cheshire has been one example of many across the UK. 2021 will be a record year for beaver reintroductions, with The Wildlife Trusts bringing beavers back to five more counties.

Wildlife Trusts have been pioneers of beaver reintroductions to Britain ever since Kent Wildlife Trust released a pair into a fences area of fenland in 2001, followed by the Scottish Beaver Trial in 2009.

beaver pond drone

Photo: Natalie Webb. Pond within Hatchmere Nature Reserve beaver enclosure. 

“Beavers are a fantastic keystone species that have a hugely important role to play in restoring nature to Britain. It’s brilliant to see Wildlife Trusts across the UK ensuring a better future for wetlands and for a wealth of other wildlife by bringing back beavers whose engineering capabilities inject new life into wild places. The benefits for people are clear – beavers help stop flooding downstream, filter out impurities and they create new homes for otters, water voles and kingfishers. What’s more, people love seeing them and their presence boosts tourism in the countryside.

“We live in one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world which is why we have a big ambition to protect 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030. We’re calling on the government to come up with an ambitious strategy to enable beavers to return to help tackle the climate crisis and improve wetlands for wildlife.”
Craig Bennett
chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts

These hardworking herbivores are native to mainland Britain but were hunted to extinction in the 16th century by people who wanted their fur, meat and and scent glands. The loss of beavers led to the loss of the mosaic of lakes, meres, mires, tarns and boggy places that they were instrumental in creating. Their ability to restore and maintain important wetland habitats is why reintroducing this species is so important.

Five years of research by Devon Wildlife Trust shows that beavers bring a valuable range of improvements for people and wildlife:

  • They create a fantastic range of wetland habitats that provide homes for other wildlife and greatly enhance conditions for nature to thrive
  • The channels, dams and wetlands that beavers engineer hold back water and release it more slowly after heavy rain, helping to reduce the risk of flooding
  • Their activities prevent soil being washed away after rainfall – their dams filter water, cleaning it and reducing pollution downstream

A huge thank you to all of our supporters and members who make this possible. You’re support meant beavers could be brought back to Cheshire. Our five-year project looking after the animals and closely monitoring the benefits they have to wildlife and water health at Hatchmere Nature Reserve will cost a total of £85,000. We still need £42,000 to do all this work. 

Let's bring beavers back