Beavers reintroduced in Northumberland to help mitigate effects of climate change

  • The moment Beavers were released in the Wallington Estate Northumberland.

A family of four beavers has been released on an estate to boost wildlife and help the landscape deal with climate change.

Beavers became extinct in Britain in the 16th century due to hunting, but in recent years they have been introduced at a growing number of sites in the UK.

The latest release at Northumberland's Wallington Estate, is the National Trust's third in England, following successful introductions on Exmoor in 2020 and the South Downs in 2021.

Two adults and two young beavers have been relocated under licence from Tayside in Scotland. They will become one of the few beaver populations in northern England.

Paul Hewitt, countryside manager at the National Trust, said: "Much as they did centuries ago, these instinctive animals will engineer the landscape, creating a dynamic system of dams and ponds that, over time, will become a lush wetland, brimming with life.

beaver in Copton Forest North Yorkshire where they were reintroduced for a five year trial in 2019. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees News

"The BBC's Wild Isles was a powerful reminder of the beauty - and critically, the scarcity - of British wildlife.

"If we are to make sure those amazing natural spectacles don't become a thing of the past, we have to create space for wildlife to thrive.

"Beavers are a fantastic tool to help us do that; where they go, fish, insects, birds and amphibians follow."

They will make their home in a 24-hectare fenced enclosure on an upland tributary of the River Wansbeck, transforming the landscape with their dams.

By creating pools on the stream, they mitigate the effect of climate change by slowing the speed of water coursing through during heavy rains, and holding water in the location during drought.

Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer, who led the release for the Beaver Trust, said: "What's really interesting in relocating these animals to the enclosure at Wallington today is the upland stream setting, a recovering, formerly heavily grazed landscape.

"Wallington is a great example of exactly where we want these animals to be reintroduced, to demonstrate their ability to restore natural processes and where they are very likely to produce a textbook example of landscape scale beaver benefits: slowing and storing water, boosting biodiversity, and promoting woodland regeneration."

Public visits to see the beavers may be possible later but at the moment rangers are asking people to give the animals time to settle into their new home.

A family of beavers has been released at the National Trust's Wallington estate. Credit: PA

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...