Beavers to return to Derbyshire for first time in 800 years

Image source, Nick Upton
Image caption,
The animals will create dams which will slow water flow and divert it onto the wet meadows, creating a natural flood defence

Beavers are to be brought back to Derbyshire for the first time in 800 years with the help of funding.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has been given £140,000 by two companies to enable the creatures to return.

The cash means two families of beavers could be living in a 20-acre wetland habitat in Willington by November.

The trust said the beavers will "improve the wildlife habitat and nature recovery", as well as bringing an economic boost through eco-tourism.

It said, in time, the animals will create dams to slow the flow of water through Egginton Brook.

This will divert it on to wet meadows and away from the village of Willington, creating natural flood defences.

Image source, Alison Briers
Image caption,
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said it hopes to get the beavers in November, depending on fencing being finished and weather conditions

Matt Buckler, from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said: "We're overjoyed at the fantastic response we've had to our plans to bring beavers back to Willington Wetlands.

"We're really looking forward to welcoming two beaver families."

The beavers will be transported in crates from Scotland, with wildlife experts on hand to check on their wellbeing, the charity said.

Natural England - the government agency responsible for licensing the release and homing of the beavers - has reviewed and licensed the plans, and agreed the Willington area is large enough for two beaver families.

The trust will now get the area ready for the beavers' arrival, including installing fencing around the reserve - which was paid for through crowdfunding.

It would also like to create a five-mile circular walk on site, as well as build a new visitor centre.

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