Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has revealed ambitious plans to create a home ready for a family of beavers to move in hopefully by the end of the year.
The Trust is appealing to its supporters to help bring beavers back to the Trent Valley’s Willington Wetlands reserve for the first time in 800 years. This is part of the Trust’s plans to create a nature recovery network, which will include extending and improving its Willington Wetlands reserve for more wildlife and visitors to enjoy.
In time, the beavers will create dams to slow the flow of water through the Egginton brook, diverting it onto the wet meadows of the reserve and away from the village of Willington. As well as these natural flood defences, wetland plants and healthier soils will absorb more carbon and help to reduce its impact on our rapidly changing climate.
The reserve, a former gravel extraction site, is already very popular with bird watchers. The Trust also has plans to extend the reserve, create a new circular footpath with a bridge connecting Willington to the Trent and Mersey canal through the reserve, new wildlife watching screens, hides and information for visitors. This means more people will be able to enjoy the reserve and its wildlife throughout the year.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s CEO Dr Jo Smith said; “This is one of our biggest and most exciting appeals yet – the potential benefits for our wildlife and communities are huge. With people’s help, we will bring beavers back and rewild the much loved reserve at Willington to create a wilder future for Derbyshire. Beavers are fantastic, eco-engineers and a natural solution to help slow the flow of water, reduce flooding risk and enrich habitat for more of our precious wildlife.”
This is the latest in a number of plans to reintroduce beavers to specific areas the UK and several areas including Cornwall and Devon have already seen the benefits of slowing the flow of water after heavy rainfall and a positive impact on the local economy from nature tourism.
Derbyshire’s beavers will be contained within the reserve for now and money will be raised to create and maintain a secure fence around the area.
The crowdfunder appeal includes a number of options for donors, from a children’s colouring activity and certificate for £5, a foot of fence to keep the beavers safely contained on the reserve for £25 and an invite to the release event for £50. People can follow updates about the campaign on the website and #BackTheBeaver #WilderWillington.