From flood defence to strengthening biodiversity, the ecological benefits of rewilding with beavers are beyond doubt. Meet the people making it happen
‘Reintroducing beavers is like throwing petrol on to the bonfire when it comes to nature recovery – it really speeds things up,” says Chris Jones, farmer and communities director of the Beaver Trust. We’re on a tour of Woodland Valley Farm, near Ladock, his home and the site of the Cornwall Beaver Project, where a family of the semi-aquatic mammals live in a five-acre woodland enclosure.
Dressed in wellies, camouflage jacket and floppy hat, Chris speaks with the enthusiasm of the late David Bellamy, pointing out how the landscape has been reshaped. Impressive dams made of wood, stone and mud have slowed the flow of water, new channels have created large pools and new wetland habitat. It feels wild and alive, with signs of recent beaver activity seen in the odd felled tree and piles of woodchip.