This month, our St. Eval team were warmly welcomed by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust to explore Woodland Valley Farm, near Ladock. Experiencing this vast abundance of nature firsthand, we were honoured to observe the beavers craftmanship, bonding as a team through our shared determination to spot a beaver in action.
Embracing the evening and easing into the dusk, we were introduced to the site and the world of beavers by the newly appointed Beaver Officer Lauren, as well as our tour guide and Head of Conservation, Cheryl Marriott.
Released in June 2017, this motley male and female beaver pairing began their beaver enclosure journey amidst a 5 acre area of plantation woodland, located along Nankilly water. Now 6 years on, this pairing is believed to have blossomed into a positive rewilding family of six.
For many of the group, it was the first time seeing beaver damns in real life, so up close and to such an extravagant size and scale. Dotted across the site, these architectural engineers had evidently been hard at work building their damns. By constructing each new home, the beavers have helpfully divided the flow of the man-made stream, slowing the influx of water amidst periods of heavy flooding and ultimately protecting Ladock from previously experienced, disastrous floods.
Filled with fascinating beaver facts, Cheryl described the beavers need to assemble damns as a survival instinct, a deep-rooted desire to seek out safety from predators. Fashioning a sanctuary for the whole beaver family, each damn is formed under a secure amount of water, with beavers preferring to enter and exit their homes cautiously underwater.
Blessed by the will of wildlife, we were surrounded by birds in flight and grass-chomping sheep, feeling greatly dedicated and extremely lucky to witness a beaver beyond the realms of a screen. Slowly poking its head above water, this adventurous beaver began basking in the calm of the clear night sky, before setting off for a swim amongst the pond’s pools of wetland wildlife. Putting on a show for over five minutes, this nocturnal creature meandered off through the trees to another near pond, preparing for another evening of damn creating, tree gnawing and river exploring.
Learning a host of incredible facts about beavers, such as their protective second eyelids and herbivore nature, it was even more wonderful to see the spaniel-sized animal with our own eyes. Experiencing the beavers and immersing ourselves in this wondrous natural world and nature reserve, we feel an immense sense of pride in partaking and collaborating in such an outstanding and important project.
We appreciate all the time, effort and love that the Cornwall Wildlife Trust place on preserving the wildlife around us, teaching us vital nature facts and sharing this space with us. We look forward to Lauren and the teams courageous takes ahead, as they look forward to rewilding Helman Tor.
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