The resurgence of the otter at Oxburgh Hall

An otter in the River Gadder at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
Published : 02 Aug 2018 Last update : 22 Jul 2020

Keep your eyes peeled, as otter sightings are on the rise at Oxburgh Hall, after work took place to improve a stretch of the River Gadder that runs through the estate.

The resurgence of the otter

River improvement work is continuing to benefit wildlife at Oxburgh Hall, with regular sightings of otters now being recorded on the estate. The resurgence of the otter, which is top of the food chain in river environments, is seen as an indicator that a river is at its healthiest.

Back in 2013, staff at Oxburgh Hall observed water levels noticeably dropping in the moat and work began to repair the leaks. The work involved repairs to the brick weir and sluice that were located in the River Gadder. Whilst the team readdressed the Victorian engineering, they also removed 1,000 cubic metres of silt from the river bed.

Helen Gregory, the National Trust’s Outdoor Manager at Oxburgh Hall said: “The reduction in silt has resulted in higher water levels, making it easier for otters to swim along this stretch of river. It’s fantastic to have had so many more sightings this year, as otters are a sign of a healthy wetland ecosystem.

“In England, the otter disappeared dramatically between the 1950s and 1970s. Although there are historic records of otters on the estate, this year we’ve had far more sightings of what we believe to be a mother and two cubs. They’ve even been spotted in the moat!”.