Beavers breeding in Cornwall!

Monday 18th June 2018

Beaver kit (c) Nina Constable

Cornwall Beaver Project announced some fantastic news last week with the arrival of at least two kits (juvenile beavers) at the 5 acre fenced site at Woodland Valley Farm in Ladock near Truro. These are the first beavers to be born in Cornwall for over 400 years!

Farmer Chris Jones alerted project partner Cornwall Wildlife Trust after his first view of one of the kits at the beginning of the week. The Cornwall Beaver Project team were all hoping for some good views during their regular Wednesday night beaver walk and invited filmmaker Nina Constable in the hope of getting some footage for BBC Springwatch. The kits did indeed come out and were enjoyed by thousands nationwide on the last episode of Springwatch 2018.

The Cornish beaver pair have been busy since their release last summer making themselves at home in their 5-acre enclosure on the farm. The Cornwall Beaver Project has witnessed the first beaver lodge being built in Cornwall for hundreds of years. As well as this, a smaller lodge appeared on site earlier in the year which initially caused confusion. However, it was soon realised this was the male beaver building a temporary bachelor pad, as he had likely been asked to leave the lodge while the female was nursing. All the signs were there and the team have sat poised for the last month waiting in anticipation for the first glimpse of a beaver kit.

Frank Howie, Chair of Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Strategy Committee says,

“This is a fantastic milestone for the Cornwall Beaver Project – it clearly shows the beavers are in their element and all their hard work making a new home was for a very good reason!”

For the last twelve months the Cornwall Beaver Project team have been in awe, seeing these creatures transforming the site and creating new wildlife habitat areas. The project has been lucky to have willing wildlife enthusiasts throughout the year coming to carry out surveys on the site’s flora and fauna. Other good news has been an increased number of bats around the enclosure, including some very rare species such as barbastelle and greater horseshoe bats. The beaver dams hold more water at the top of the catchment, in pools, which in turn means more insects for bats to feed on.

Holding the water upstream is also great for flood prevention downstream - researchers involved in the project estimate that water now takes an hour to drain through the site when it used to take just 15 minutes - this is significant as Ladock village suffers from flooding so slowing the flow of water could form part of the solution.

If you would like to come and visit The Cornwall Beaver Project, the team are running walks on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer - you may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the new kits themselves!

The walks can be booked on the Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s online shop www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/shop with all the proceeds going back in to running the project with Chris Jones at Woodland Valley Farm. The walks are in the early evening before dusk and include a walking tour of the site then a chance to sit and wait to try and see the beavers come out as night falls. Some of the walks are bookable by groups so if you belong to a group that is interested in visiting the site you can have an exclusive visit. Additional child-friendly walks are available during school holidays through Wildlife Watch, the Trust’s junior wildlife club.

Video of the Cornwall Beaver Project kits can be made available on request