We are excited to announce news of a planned reintroduction of beavers at the Nene Wetlands nature reserve, Northants, expected at some point during the winter of 2024/2025.
As well as a fantastic opportunity to see beavers return to Northamptonshire for the first time in centuries, this hardworking species will play a role managing the wet woodland habitat in an enclosed area around Delta Pit, helping to continue reedbed restoration work and creating a dynamic and diverse wetland habitat that will benefit a range of other species. Excitingly, this also means having a population of these distinctive, charismatic rodents very close to people, bringing the opportunity for observation and education via the Trust's visitor centre at Rushden Lakes.
Needless to say a lot of planning goes into the release of any native species, especially beavers. The area will need fully protecting with adequate fencing to enclose them, plus interpretation signage for visitors. The Trust will work closely with partners, including the Beaver Trust, to ensure the highest welfare standards.
Pivotal in the planning process so far has been the successful completion of a feasibility study along with receiving a licence from Natural England to release beavers into the enclosed area.
Matt Johnson, Wildlife Trust in Northamptonshire Conservation Manager, says: “This is an exciting and unique opportunity to see this iconic species return to the Nene Valley, bringing back both its natural habitat restoration skills as well as providing an opportunity for the visitors to see beavers in the wild at our most visited reserve.”
Landowners, The Crown Estate, are enthused at the prospect as, very significantly, this represents a first for them - the first Crown Estate land so far to see a beaver release. Mike Thomas, Regional Asset Director, The Crown Estate, said: “We’re delighted to be working with The Wildlife Trust to reintroduce beavers at the Nene Wetlands nature reserve. We know that nature is critical for our wellbeing and for a secure future, and urgent action is needed to tackle the decline in nature and biodiversity. These will be the first beavers to be reintroduced on our land, and we are looking forward to welcoming them into our community.”
Excellent habitat engineers, in October 2022 beavers were officially recognised as a native species in England and a European protected species. Many Wildlife Trusts around the country now have beaver release schemes - through extensive research they have found that beavers and the landscapes that they generate benefit both people and wildlife for a wide variety of reasons.