Two new beavers have been introduced to Enfield’s pioneering flood alleviation and biodiversity project and are thriving in their London home.The beavers have made incredible progress, showing signs of dam-making, stripping bark, and can be seen getting on very well together – all captured by discreet cameras.Last year Enfield Council partnered with Capel Manor College to reintroduce beavers to London for the first time in more than 400 years. The project has been guided and advised on by experts throughout and is fully licensed.Enfield Council has specially designed a six-hectare enclosure, which has recently been enhanced with a second pond and plenty of new tree whips including, Willow and Aspen.Capel Manor College’s team continues to monitor the two beavers closely and has enlisted the help of the college’s students as part of their education and training programme and the running of Forty Hall Farm.Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Rick Jewell, said: “We have given the two new beavers plenty of space and time to get to know their new environment and we know the Beaver Trust is pleased with the space we have created for them. Once they are fully settled, we should see the area transform into a natural wetland ecosystem, with amazing flood defence properties that will contribute to our work to protect the local area and hundreds of homes downstream from flooding.”
Capel Manor College’s Animal Collections Manager, Meg Wilson, said: “As London’s environmental college, our students and staff are at the forefront of studying animals and their impact on ecosystems. The beavers will naturally re-engineer the local ecosystem, carrying out the groundworks for a sustainable wetland, leading to more diverse habitats. Capel Manor College is ensuring that the beavers’ needs are met, and they have every opportunity to realise their role. A cross-departmental approach allows all of our students the opportunity to engage with a project which supports the College’s mission, the wider community of Enfield and the Mayor of London’s Green New Deal.”
Enfield’s beaver project is part of a wider Natural Flood Management initiative spearheaded by Enfield Council to help protect homes and to restore local biodiversity and river habitats. As part of the Council’s Climate Action Plan and Blue and Green Strategy, Enfield Council is also looking at the reintroduction of other species and would like to support cattle grazing, kingfisher nesting and barbel breeding.
The Eurasian beaver was hunted to extinction in Great Britain in the 16th Century, but recent studies have shown their return could bring several benefits.
Beaver dams slow the flow of water through a river catchment and can reduce the impact of flooding on homes downstream. The sponge-like wetland habitats they create enable other forms of wildlife to flourish.
After the death of two male beavers, the Beaver Trust advised the removal of the first female beaver which had been introduced to Enfield in March 2022. Although the decision was difficult for everyone involved in the project, the female beaver was relocated to a new location, where she has settled in well and appears to be content.
The enclosure has since been enhanced with a second pond and plenty of new tree whips including Willow and Aspen to provide the new animals with plenty of space and forage.
The two new beavers were introduced in December 2022. To allow them to settle into their surroundings, we will not initially be permitting on-site visits.
Organisations involved in Enfield’s Beaver Release Project
Enfield Council - including Blue Green, watercourses, highways teams
Beaver Trust - including Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer
Capel Manor College - including Meg Wilson and the students of the college
Urban Farming and Conservation - Dr Angelika Von Heimendahl
Derek Gow Consultancy – Derek Gow
As with all the animals Capel Manor College cares for, the monitoring and welfare of the beavers is a top priority. The beavers are yet to be named, however, it is likely that students from the College will choose their names, at a later date.
About Capel Manor College
Capel Manor College is London’s only specialist environmental college, offering a diverse range of full and part-time courses in further and higher education for young people and adults. We embrace and promote inclusivity in land-based careers.The College plays a vital role in the green agenda for the capital, equipping the next generation of land-based sector workers with the skills and knowledge needed to help preserve and protect London’s wildlife, national parks, and green spaces. If students are looking for the next step after school, considering a career change or want to further their existing skills, they are taught by exceptional, industry-experienced tutors and gain renowned qualifications valued by land-based employers across the world. As part of their studies, our students have the unique opportunity to obtain real-world experience and help take care of the College’s estates, gardens, farm, zoos and commercial businesses.