Beaver released from a crate onto a river bank.
Beaver release © Nick Upton

Devon Wildlife Trust

River Otter Beaver Trial

For the first time since they were hunted to extinction in the 1700s, England has a wild beaver population in Devon on the River Otter! This is a landmark event for nature conservation in England. Devon Wildlife Trust’s role is to monitor the effects of beaver activity on the river, on the wider landscape and its wildlife. 

This project will also involve the local community: how well can beavers and people co-exist in the long term.

This is an historic moment. The beavers of the River Otter are the first breeding population in the English countryside since the 1700s. This project will measure the impact that these beavers have on the local environment, on the local economy and on local people. The evidence from elsewhere shows that beavers should have an overwhelmingly positive effect, but this is the first time the animals will be living in a well-populated, agriculturally productive English landscape for hundreds of years.

Peter Burgess, Director of Development, Policy and Research, Devon Wildlife Trust

Beaver released onto a river bank.
© Nick Upton
Beaver released onto a river bank.
© Nick Upton
A beaver dam.
© Clinton Devon Estates
A beaver.
© Ben Lee