David Parkyn Cornwall Wildlife Trust - beavers (1)

Cheshire Wildlife Trust are to reintroduce beavers back to Cheshire after 400 years.

Beavers are native to Cheshire but they became extinct in England in the 16th century.

This was caused mainly by hunting for their fur, meat and ‘castoreum’, a secretion used in perfumes, food and medicine.

Despite centuries of absence, evidence of their presence can still be seen.

Bar Mere in South Cheshire gets its name from the word beaver.

Now as part of a five-year project, a pair of beavers will be released into a 4.5 hectare enclosure near Hatchmere in Delamere.

The beavers will create a new landscape as they adapt to their surroundings.

Removing trees will break up the canopy, allowing sunlight on to ground vegetation and bringing the woodland floor to life.

With their dams holding back water on the site, water flow is slowed, dropping out the polluted sediments that would otherwise flow into Hatchmere lake.

It will also make new space for insects, invertebrates and fish.

The government’s decision earlier this month to allow a wild population of beavers to remain in the river Otter in East Devon has reinforced the importance of bringing them back into England’s countryside.

David Parkyn Cornwall Wildlife Trust - beavers

Beavers – pic by David Parkyn

Their dams work as natural flood defences, helping to reduce the risk of homes flooding downstream.

Beavers were reintroduced to Scotland a decade ago, and last year they were made a protected species.

Cheshire’s beavers will be released into an enclosure in Delamere close to Hatchmere.

There are plans to erect a beaver proof fence over the next few weeks with a pair of beavers being translocated from Scotland in the autumn.

The Cheshire Wildlife Trust project will become England’s tenth beaver reintroduction.

Kevin Feeney, Reserves Manager for Hatchmere, said: “We’re really excited to be bringing beavers back to Cheshire after being absent from our waterways for so long.

“Beavers are a natural and sustainable solution to managing habitats.

“We spend a lot of time and managing sites for nature, which beavers do better and cheaper.

“The beavers will be a huge benefit to Delamere.”

Now Cheshire Wildlife Trust needs to raise £30,000 to complete the beaver-proof fence and to keep the beavers secure during this closely monitored five-year experiment.

The fencing needs to be in before the area becomes too boggy for contractor to get on to the site in the autumn.

The Trust has launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise the money.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so via its crowdfunder page www.crowdfunder.co.uk/bring-back-the-beavers

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