Amazing footage shows first beaver born in Norfolk for centuries

Embargoed to 0001 Friday July 30Undated handout photo issued by Wild Ken Hill of a video grab of a

The young beaver caught on a remote camera at Wild Ken Hill - Credit: Wild Ken Hill/PA Wire

Sliding down the stream, the new arrival turns history on its head with a flick of its tail.

For pioneering conservationists have glimpsed the first beaver to be born in Norfolk for centuries.

The creature was caught on camera at Wild Ken Hill, on the coast at Snettisham,  where hundreds of acres are being returned to nature.

A beaver swims off to exlore its new home Picture: Wild Ken Hill

A beaver swims off to exlore its new home Picture: Wild Ken Hill - Credit: Archant

Two pairs of beavers were re-introduced last year to help manage wooded habitats with their dams and tree felling.

Now remote cameras which scan the nocturnal animals' 50-acre enclosure have revealed they have not only settled into their new home but have started their first family.


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The young beaver, known as a kit, is the first to be born in Norfolk since the animals were hunted to extinction for their meat, pelts and oil in the 16th Century.

Trail-cam footage shows a kit swimming in the territory of a pair of beavers named Orange and Flow, who first met in Autumn 2020 and have spent the winter and spring bonding. It is not yet known whether the couple are rearing a single offspring, or two or more young.

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In May a lodge was also discovered in the beaver enclosure. Beavers build lodges from piles of twigs and saplings as protection from predators and will raise their kits inside them for the first few months of their lives.

Fingers were crossed at Ken Hill. Then a few days ago, camera footage confirmed the animals had bred successfully.

beaver lodge

The beavers have built a lodge deep in their wooded enclosure at Wild Ken Hill - Credit: Chris Bishop

Lloyd Park, conservation leader and ecologist at Wild Ken Hill said: “This beaver kit represents an historic moment towards the conservation and restoration of the species within lowland England.

"Beavers are a vital link in restoring and regenerating our natural places and in their short time here at Wild Ken Hill they have already made a significant impact on the landscape within their enclosure.

beaver dam

A dam built by beavers in the woods at Wild Ken Hill - Credit: Chris Bishop

"Through their natural processes we have seen increased water levels and changes to the woodland structure that provide opportunities for a host of other wildlife.”

Dominic Buscall, project manager at Wild Ken Hill, said: "This is another exciting step on the journey to restore beavers to East Anglia.

"Beavers bring huge benefits to our natural environment. With the right balance of protection and management, we could harness them across England to assist nature recovery and prevent flooding - the project here at Wild Ken Hill is seeking to demonstrate that".

Dom Buscall Wild Ken Hill

Dominic Buscall, project manager at Wild Ken Hill - Credit: Chris Bishop

Voles and dragonflies have already colonised ponds created by the beavers' dams. Numerous trees have been felled or ring-barked by the animals, ranging from large poplars to willow saplings.

Beavers were once common across the upper reaches of Norfolk's river systems. 

The beaver on the village sign at Babingley Picture: Ian Burt

The beaver on the village sign at Babingley Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

The nearby villages of Babingley and Flitcham have beavers on their village signs as legend has it the animals guided Saint Felix to safety after his ship foundered in The Wash around the year 615AD.

While the Ken Hill colony is currently fenced in, conservationists hope to one day take down the enclosure so the animals can re-establish themselves across the wider area.

Springwatch presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan being interviews by the local media. Pict

BBC Springwatch presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan in Norfolk. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Wild Ken Hill hosted BBC Springwatch 2021 and will also be featured on Autumnwatch and Winterwatch where it is hoped that further footage can be captured of the beaver family using the Natural History Unit’s cutting edge camera technology.

Before then guided tours of the beaver enclosure can be booked via https://wildkenhill.co.uk/

Beavers are not the only re-introduction under way on the 4,000-acre estate, which stretches from Sedgeford to the shores of The Wash. 

An aerial view of Wild Ken Hill, a patchwork of habitats between the main A149 coast road an the sho

An aerial view of Wild Ken Hill, a patchwork of habitats between the main A149 coast road an the shores of the Wash - Credit: Wild Ken Hill

Next spring, the team will begin releasing white-tailed eagles to begin a programme which it is hoped will create a breeding population of the birds in Norfolk.

Heritage breed cattle such as Tamworth pigs, red poll cattle and Exmoor ponies have already been introduced to help graze and maintain the landscape.



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