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Press release

Baby beaver boom on Exmoor in Somerset as three kits are born in conservation success story

two young beaver kits surrounded by green wetland habitat
Beaver kits snuggling at the Holnicote Estate, Somerset | © National Trust Images/Barry Edwards

Three baby beavers (kits) have been born at two different beaver enclosures on the Holnicote Estate near Minehead, Somerset, where the National Trust re-introduced beavers for the first time in 400 years in January 2020.

One kit has become the sixth member of the family living at the National Trust’s ‘Paddocks’ enclosure at Holnicote, where Rashford became the first kit born on the estate in 400 years in 2021, followed by twins Russo and Toone last summer. All three were named after England’s football stars after the public were invited to help name the kits – with the final choices coming down to a public vote.

Yet to be named, the latest new arrival is already being shown the benefits of ‘eco-engineering’; how to make positive changes to the area through building dams and creating new pools to attract wildlife by its older siblings.

Jack Siviter, National Trust ranger working on the beaver project said, “The beavers at ‘Paddocks’ are a tight family team. We see them grooming each other, playing and working together to improve the site and create healthy habitats which can support a broad range of species such as dragonflies and toads.”

George Layton, another of the National Trust ranger team at Holnicote added, “The habitat within the beaver sites is already much healthier than before their introduction and is absolutely brimming with wildlife. Beavers are brilliant creatures that through their ‘engineering’ create new ponds, leave standing deadwood – the rarest type of deadwood, where dead trees and branches remain rooted into the ground, forming vitally important habitats for invertebrates – as well as opening up fantastic glades where more light can hit the woodland floor so beetles, butterflies and even water voles can thrive.”

Another pair of kits have been born at Whiteman’s Moor – just a few miles away - to first time parents Lily and Bulrush. Here, the twins have been caught on camera playing and even hitching a ride on their parent’s backs as they work.

National Trust project manager, Ben Eardley said, “Beavers can play an important role helping to combat the climate crisis because their dams help restore dry and degraded wetlands. We’ve already seen the positive change beavers can bring to the landscape at Holnicote and have recorded a dramatic change in water levels on the previously unmanaged woodland, as well as a change to vegetation and light.”

He continued, “The multiple dam complexes created over the last few years have helped to slow the flow of water through the area, create ponds and new channels to hold more water in times of flood, as well as in times of drought. These improvements they’ve made to the habitat are what have allowed wildlife to flourish, including fish, water voles, frogs, toads and otters.”

Due to the successful naming of the kits born to date by public vote, the conservation charity is once again asking the public for help in naming the three new kits with suggestions able to be made via the National Trust’s social media accounts, starting first on X and Threads with further opportunities on Facebook and Instagram over the coming weeks.

View the virtual tour

Beaver swimming in the beaver enclosure at Holnicote Estate in Somerset

Virtual tour of Holnicote beaver enclosure 

Take an interactive 360° virtual tour of the beaver enclosure on the Holnicote Estate in Somerset and discover how the beavers have been transforming this wetland habitat.