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Largest release of Scottish beavers in England to take place as COP26 delegates in Glasgow urged to focus on the role of nature in tackling climate impacts.

As delegates at the COP26 meeting in Glasgow are urged to focus attention on the power of nature to tackle climate impacts, the largest group of Scottish beavers yet released in England are set to transform wildlife habitats at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s largest nature reserve.

Male beaver
NTU will continue to conduct long-term monitoring of the released beavers (Image: Mike Vickers)

Just days after Wildlife Trust’s President Emeritus Sir David Attenborough made clear in a special film produced ahead of the conference that “We must bring wildlife and wild places back on an ambitious scale” and highlighted the role that beavers can play in enhancing habitats as ‘natural water engineers’, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is making final preparations to welcome beavers back to the county after a gap of at least 400 years.

The beaver release, at Idle Valley Nature Reserve near Retford, is being supported by experts in species recovery in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, and is the highest profile element of a trail blazing partnership between Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Severn Trent, designed to boost the UK’s Nature Recovery Network.

The beavers, a family group including 4 young beavers known as kits, will be released into a specially constructed enclosure at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Idle Valley Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, on Friday (Nov 5) – the latest release on a Wildlife Trust site in what looks set to be a record year for rebuilding the native beaver population in England.

The release is being supported by experts from Beaver Trust, Seven Sisters Zoo and NTU and is the largest and highest profile element of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trusts partnership with Severn Trent which is set to enhance the natural environment and improve water quality across more than 290ha of habitat at the reserve, in the wider Idle Valley and across the wider county through targeted support for farmers and landowners.

Speaking about the imminent release, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Head of Nature Recovery Janice Bradley said: “We are so excited that after two years of planning with our partners including Severn Trent, Beaver Trust, Seven Sisters Zoo and Nottingham Trent University, we are ready to welcome the first beavers in our county for at least 400 years. The fact that we’ll be welcoming such a large group adds to the sense of anticipation, but the real excitement relates to the beavers’ capacity to transform landscapes and create rich wetland habitat that supports many other creatures.”

At the Idle Valley Nature Reserve, the beavers will help us to control scrub, boosting habitat for a range of wetland birds as well as creating new pools to benefit everything from fish to dragonflies and from amphibians to otters. The beaver reintroduction is part of Severn Trent’s commitment to improve over 5,000ha by 2027 as part of their Great Big Nature Boost and over the next seven years, will fulfil 1% of the Government’s target for the Nature Recovery Network. The company’s support for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and other Wildlife Trusts across the region has been hailed by Natural England as the type of partnership needed to deliver the national ambitions for a Nature Recovery Network and for its potential to inspire other businesses to invest in similar partnerships.

Alongside the beaver release, Severn Trent’s investment will enable Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to install crucial water control structures to manage water levels on a key part of the Idle Valley Nature Reserve. In the wider Idle Valley landscape, it will deliver improved habitat for wading birds and water voles and across the county it will enable the charity to offer advice and targeted support for farmers and landowners to create meadows, woodlands and ponds.

Janice continued: “An effective Nature Recovery Network must be created from the ground up, with everyone playing a part. The projects we are delivering with support from Severn Trent illustrate that serious investment in nature’s recovery is good for wildlife, good for communities and good for businesses. By working in partnership, we have the power to address the climate and ecological emergencies through local action.”

Graham Osborn, Principal Ecologist at Severn Trent, said: “We’re proud to support this project through our Great Big Nature Boost – a scheme that includes plans to plant over million trees and revive 5,000 hectares of land, which will help to restore 2,000km of rivers across the Midlands. “The reintroduction of beavers in Nottinghamshire will go some way to achieving these ambitions.

Their clever eco-engineering makes them the perfect nature-based solution when it comes to improving water quality, as well as helping to reduce the risk of flooding. To put it simply, what’s good for nature, is good for water too.”

2021 is set to be a record year for beaver releases in England with active Wildlife Trust re-introduction projects in Dorset, Isle of Wight and Montgomeryshire. The latest release saw Derbyshire Wildlife Trust welcoming beavers to an enclosure at their Willington Nature Reserve alongside the River Trent just a few weeks ago. These releases come with just days until the deadline for responses to the Government’s consultation on the future strategy for beaver releases in England.

Dr Samantha Bremner-Harrison, Species Recovery Unit Lead at Nottingham Trent University, said: “We are delighted that the Species Recovery Unit at NTU has been a contributing partner throughout this project to bring beavers back to Nottinghamshire. Returning a species to a site where they have been absent for a long time requires extensive planning and NTU have worked closely with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to provide data to support the licence application to Natural England.

“We will continue to work with NWT to conduct long-term monitoring of the released individuals which will contribute to ongoing population management as the beavers become established.”

Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer on behalf of Beaver Trust said: “Following successful trapping and health screening the beavers are now ready to start their new lives in this fantastic enclosure. With plenty of foraging and building opportunities, they will spend the next couple of weeks exploring and settling into their new surroundings. It is likely they will quickly start building a lodge to overwinter together.”

Whilst the beaver at Idle Valley will live in one of the largest beaver enclosures in England, in the long-term, The Wildlife Trusts want to see beavers living wild and free across our landscape and are calling for the Government to support ambitious and carefully targeted reintroduction in more areas. The charity also believes that landowners that make space for watercourses and wetlands created by beavers should be rewarded.

The consultation ends on November 17th and further details of why The Wildlife Trusts want to see beavers living wild and free in our landscape can be found at

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Dave Rogers, Public Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8782, or via email.

    The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, a registered charity, manages dozens of nature reserves throughout the county. It advises local authorities, community groups and landowners on nature conservation issues, and makes a major input into decision-making on planning matters and other issues.

    The Trust is part of a nation-wide network of local Trusts which work to protect wildlife in town and country - The Wildlife Trusts. The Wildlife Trusts now boast almost 800,000 members. For more information please see

    Severn Trent is the UK’s second biggest water company.  It serves 4.4m homes and business customers in England and Wales. Its region stretches from mid-Wales to Rutland and from north and mid-Wales south to the Bristol Channel and east to the Humber. The company delivers almost two billion litres of water every day through 49,000km of pipes. A further 94,000km of sewer pipes take waste water away to more than 1,000 sewage treatment works.

    To find out more about Severn Trent’s performance in comparison to other water companies go to @stwater

    Beaver Trust is a climate and nature restoration charity working to restore Britain’s rivers and their wildlife with beavers.

    Nottingham Trent University was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students.

    NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With over 37,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University injects £1.6bn into the UK economy. It has been the largest recruiter of UK undergraduates in each of the last four years. With an international student population of more than 6,000 and an NTU community representing around 160 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook.

    The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was awarded University of the Year in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2019.

Largest release of Scottish beavers in England to take place as COP26 delegates in Glasgow urged to focus on the role of nature in tackling climate impacts.

Published on 5 November 2021
  • Subject area: Animal, equine and wildlife
  • Category: Press office; Research; School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences

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