Beavers set to return to Norfolk
- Credit: PA
Beavers are set to be released on a country estate to boost wetland habitats.
Wild Ken Hill, near Heacham, has been given a licence to introduce six of the animals to an enclosed 60-acre area between the A149 and Snettisham Beach.
Announcing the move, it posted on its website: "We are absolutely delighted to announce that we have been granted a license to release six beavers into an enclosure at Wild Ken Hill. This will be the first time that beavers have existed in Norfolk for hundreds of years, and it's a massive step towards growing the biodiversity at Wild Ken Hill.
"We discussed previously the importance of beavers as a keystone species, and how they create habitats for other species. But this announcement is also timely because of another role that beavers play as water management engineers.
"Many experts have suggested that the current man-made water management systems in the UK are not fit for purpose. The recent, tragic floods in the north of England only reinforce this point.
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"Beavers could help us change this. The dams, channels and other structures that beavers engineer will help the land to hold onto water better. Simply, when it rains hard, the land will absorb more water, and when it's dry, the land will also stay wetter."
Beavers were once common in the county, but disappeared in the 16th Century, after being hunted to extinction for their pelts, meat and scent glands.
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Work is now under way on the enclosure which will house the animals at Ken Hill. The estate hopes they will be released early next year. The farm is being "re-wilded" and gradually given back to nature.
The blog says: "It no longer makes sense to us to grow crops here. "We do not want to follow the harsh modern agricultural techniques required to make a profit any more. Nor do we fancy being so reliant on the farming subsidies we receive from the EU.
"Instead, we will let this land go wild. We will let the soils recover, the natural vegetation grow, biodiversity explode once more - we will let nature return."