Beavers back in Essex after 400 years and it's hoped they'll stop flooding

Beavers are back in Essex after an absence of 400 years. Credit: Environment Agency

Beavers have been re-introduced to woodland in Essex in the hope their dams can help stop flooding.

Beavers have not been found in Essex for 400 years after they were hunted to extinction.

The pair of beavers has been released into a 10-acre fenced enclosure on the Spains Hall estate in Finchingfield near Braintree in Essex.

It is hoped the animals will help reduce the risk of flooding in the village by building dams along Finchingfield Brook flowing through their enclosure.

The results of work of the beavers may take a few months to be felt downstream and their labour is being complemented by a man-made natural flood management scheme elsewhere on Finchingfield Brook.

That features a "leaky dam" approach which consists of securing tree branches or trunks across a watercourse. That helps slow the flow after heavy rain.

The scheme should also create wetland that will release water in drier periods.

Eventually, using data collected by Environment Agency equipment stationed along the watercourses and other sensors, scientists will be able to establish if this approach is more successful than more conventional flood prevention methods.

The beavers have been released in a 10-acre fenced enclosure. Credit: Environment Agency