Cornwall Beaver Project

Beaver by Nick Upton / naturepl.com

There is a proposed Cornwall Beaver Trial at Woodland Valley Farm, Ladock. So, why bring beavers back? There are several reasons why we should consider bringing beavers back to Cornwall; These include their potential to alleviate flooding, reduce incidences of low-flows in rivers, improve river water quality and restore wildlife habitats.

These  potential benefits are well described elsewhere on The Wildlife Trusts’ website page Why bring back the beaver? Publications on the Scottish Beaver Trial, Devon Beaver Project and Welsh Beaver Project are all available to download here.

 

 

What is proposed for Cornwall?
In Cornwall we are proposing a 5 year fenced trial at Woodland Valley Farm, a mixed farm upstream from Ladock, north east of Truro. Ladock is a small settlement that is affected by fluvial flooding. This makes it a good location to test the flood alleviation potential of beaver activity. The stream flowing through Woodland Valley farm is a tributary of the Tresillian River. At around 120 hectares in size the catchment above the proposed beaver site is of a different scale to both the Devon fenced project and the River Otter trial. The Cornwall trial allows researchers to study the impacts of beavers at a scale between the two existing Devon projects, one of which is situated at the headwaters of a stream, while the other is on a main river. Having research projects at various scales will give us a better picture of the potential impacts of a wider reintroduction of beavers.

View of part of Woodland Valley Farm looking south

Who is involved?
Cornwall Wildlife Trust is hosting the Cornwall Beaver Project on behalf of a wider partnership of individuals and organisations including; University of Exeter, University of Southampton, University of Plymouth, CoaST and Woodland Valley Farm.

Research objectives
A considerable amount of research has been carried out across Europe and we do not need to repeat what has already been done. The research objectives of the project have been chosen to focus on aspects that are less well understood, particularly in a lowland farmed landscape.

We will focus on the following:
• Hydrology- Professor Richard Brazier from University of Exeter will study how beavers affect the flow of water into and out of the project site. Flow equipment is already installed so that we get a year’s worth of baseline data before beavers are introduced.
• Water Quality- Richard will also look at pollutants in the stream and track differences in concentrations above and below the site.
• Impact on fish- Dr Paul Kemp from Southampton University intends to add the Cornwall Project to his research on the impacts of beavers on migratory fish passage.
• Ecology- Kelly Moyes from University of Exeter will lead the ecological surveys, with a particular focus on amphibians and macro-invertebrates.
• Public perception of Beaver reintroduction- Dr Ana Nuno from University of Exeter will oversee research into the public’s perception of beaver reintroduction in Cornwall.

 

Contact- Cheryl Marriott, Conservation Manager, Cornwall Wildlife Trust. cheryl.marriott@cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk 01872 240777 ext 210.