Reintroduction to England and Wales

There is significant interest in reintroducing beavers to parts of the UK other than Scotland, and Derek Gow in North Devon has been the main champion for reintroduction. He has been an associate of the Foundation for many years on beaver reintroduction and we strongly support his work, which has involved surveys, feasibilities studies, public discussions and the arranging of study tours to mainland Europe beaver sites. His website is   Trial releases  in enclosed areas have been carried out in both England and Wales to demonstrate ecological restoration processes. Hopefully, reintroductions will start before too long.

Photo by Laurie Campbell


The majority of England’s rivers and wetlands contain suitable beaver habitat.  Studies have shown that there are many suitable areas from Cornwall to Kent north to the Scottish Border. Beavers would assist river and floodplain restoration, and there is increasing interest in the value of beavers for enhancing and maintaining the nation’s freshwater supplies.  One study has shown that Norfolk could support between 18 and 40 families of beavers.

A captive release was started at Ham Fen in Kent and then a similar project was started at the Cotswold Water Park in 2005. More recently, Devon Wildlife Trust started a captive beaver trial  in North Devon, with the assistance of Derek Gow.


In Wales, the North Wales Wildlife Trust, is assessing suitable habitat for a potential reintroduction there. Two beavers were released into a secure enclosure near Machynlleth in November 2011 as part of a trial to see how they fare.  The Wildlife Trusts are consulting on the benefits of reintroducing the species, which has been extinct since the 12th century, but will need approval from the Welsh Assembly Government and the Countryside Council for Wales.

The Welsh Beaver Assessment Initiative saw survey work carried out since 2008 to assess suitability of  the environment for beaver reintroduction.

For further information on the potential for Welsh reintroduction click on the following link  to visit the Beaver Information Exchange for Wales website: