• Emily Prescott

Beavers’ first dam on Exmoor for 400 years


Beavers have built their first dam on Exmoor in more than 400 years. It appeared at the Holnicote estate, near Minehead, last month and has created an instant wetland.


Footage captured on wildlife cameras shows the beavers, released by the National Trust 10 months ago, gnawing on trees and collecting vegetation to create a dam across channels that run through the Somerset estate. Beavers were hunted to extinction in Britain in the 16th century.


Ben Eardley, project manager at the National Trust, said: “It might look modest, but this beaver dam is incredibly special — it’s the first to appear on Exmoor for almost half a millennium.


“What’s amazing is that it’s been here only a few weeks but has created an instant wetland. We’ve already spotted kingfishers and over time, as the beavers extend their network of dams and pools, we should see opportunities for other wildlife, including amphibians, insects, bats and birds.”


The beavers, the first to be released by the National Trust in its 125-year history, were introduced to slow the flow of water through the landscape and improve river quality and biodiversity.


The animals can build dams to create deep pools of water that offer shelter from predators and turn the surrounding land into a mosaic of nature-rich habitats.


Boris Johnson and his siblings are in the process of procuring beavers for his father Stanley’s Exmoor estate as part of his 80th birthday present.

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