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Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust launches appeal to help re-introduce beavers to River Idle at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve

An appeal has been launched by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to help re-introduce beavers to the River Idle at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve.

The £250,000 appeal would also allow the trust to expand its grazing programme with traditional breeds of cattle and other habitat improvements across the vast site as part of its wider efforts to secure nature’s recovery.

Trust chief executive Paul Wilkinson said: “With its vast open skies and abundant wildlife across wetland, woodland and meadows, the Idle Valley Nature Reserve is by far our most exciting site in terms of its potential for habitat restoration.

Beaver portrait. Photo: Nick Upton, Cornwall Wildlife Trust. (44806661)
Beaver portrait. Photo: Nick Upton, Cornwall Wildlife Trust. (44806661)

“|It is already recognised as one of the richest bird-watching sites in the region and we are determined to make it even wilder and to put it on the map as a truly inspiring wildlife destination.

“By harnessing a natural process, starting with beavers and expanding our conservation grazing programme, we can begin to unlock the site’s true potential.”

The charity had planned to create a minimum of a 13-hectare secure beaver enclosure to boost the value of wetland habitats for wading birds and other wildlife, but had hopes that a larger area might be possible.

Following a visit from renowned beaver reintroduction experts Derek Gow and Roisin Campbell-Palmer last year, during which they described the site as having ideal conditions for beavers, the charity decided to massively increase the scale of its ambitions and now plans to create a 55ha beaver zone.

While many beaver projects have seen the release of just one or two adults, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust now plans to create one of the largest beaver enclosures in England with space for up to three beaver families and hopes to be ready to welcome at least four beavers later this year.

Paul said: “Managing a site on the scale of the Idle Valley Nature Reserve is a real challenge, but we can create the ideal conditions for beavers to help us help other wildlife including the wetland birds the reserve is known for.

“Bringing beavers back to Nottinghamshire after a 400-year gap will kick-start our efforts to make the site even richer for wildlife and to create a wealth of opportunities for people to see and connect with nature.”

Details of how to support the return of beavers to Nottinghamshire can be found at nottinghamshirewildlife.org/beavers

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