At Poole Farm, Plymouth City Council are delivering an exciting rewilding project to the Bircham Valley to demonstrate how nature-based solutions can aid in water management. The Green Minds Plymouth Beaver Project is the first urban beaver reintroduction in the UK and is funded through Green Minds (ERDF Urban Innovative Actions).
Eurasian beavers were hunted to extinction in the British Isles in the 16th century. The reintroduction of beavers into a 3.5 hectare enclosure in the Bircham Valley Local Nature Reserve will contribute to Poole Farm becoming a destination for eco-tourism and local communities alike. As well as being charismatic, beavers are ecosystem engineers that transform their surroundings by felling trees, damming sections of river and creating a network of canals and ponds. Beavers create wetland habitats which are great for birds, fish and invertebrates, and help to ‘slow the flow’ of water during and after rainfall which reduces flooding downstream and releases water during droughts. They improve water quality and the habitats they create help to store carbon efficiently, helping to combat the climate emergency.
We have fantastic support and expertise provided by the Plymouth Beaver Board, which consists of Plymouth City Council. Devon Wildlife Trust, Derek Gow Consultancy, Roisin Campbell-Palmer, University of Plymouth, University of Exeter, Natural England and the Environment Agency.
Watch the incredible moment when we welcomed a male Eurasian beaver to Plymouth in November 2020