We’ve had two beaver study days this week hosted by the Bevis Trust and Alicia Leow-Dyke from Wildlife Trusts Wales. On Tuesday we had 11 staff from Natural Resources Wales, two from Welsh Government and ten from local councils. On Wednesday we had 20 representatives from a variety of NGOs and Universities. It was a chance for visitors to get a first hand view of the effects beavers have on habitats and the techniques used to manage them. They were able to find beaver trails and field signs, see different dams, how some trees are targeted for food, others for building materials, and others avoided. We also had PowerPoint presentations and discussion sessions followed by BBQs and an opportunity to spend the evenings beaver watching. The three beaver families on the farm all have young kits just emerging so visitors were able to enjoy seeing them emerge from their lodges. As beavers expand both in numbers and range in Britain it is urgent that a proper management strategy is developed, under-pinned by appropriate legislation, so that the species can regain its place amongst British fauna with a minimum of conflict with other land-uses.
Meanwhile we have been busy with the fencing and planting at Ricketts Mill. The predator fence will soon be complete. It is buried into the ground, and has one inch mesh to stop mink, with two electric strands to stop foxes. We are still planting reed beds and some of them are rooting well now. In a year or two they will start to provide habitat for a variety of species and it will be exciting to watch the gradual restoration process.