Beavers in the Forest of Dean


Project information

Beavers are 'ecosystem engineers'. Beaver dams can slow the flow of water at times of heavy rainfall, releasing it slowly during dry periods thereby reducing the ecological impacts of drought.

Here in the Forest of Dean, Forestry England and Natural England are working together with experts at the Beaver Trust, to introduce beavers within enclosures so that we can monitor the changes that take place to the biodiversity, habitats and water quality and flow rates. 

The data we gather will provide evidence to determine their impacts of beavers on the wider landscape. Our Greathough beaver family had two kits in April 2023 and we now have plans to introduce two adults to a new enclosure at Perryhay.

Black and white photo of female beaver with two kits in water

Beavers at Greathough

Two adult beavers from Bavaria were released into the Greathough Brook enclosure in July 2018. These beavers were health checked and had a period of quarantine prior to release. However, due to certain disease and parasites being present in mainland Europe and not in the UK, it was felt best to rehome these beavers to a secure environment and to source British beavers only. A new pair from Scotland arrived in the autumn of 2019.

Upon release our beavers began to cut down trees immediately to access food and to provide material to build dams and lodges.

Features of the Greathough enclosure:

  • 6 hectares in size.
  • grilled stream culverts.
  • boar proof fence.

The birth of two baby beavers (kits)

After the sad loss of the female beaver, a new partner was introduced to the male and 2 kits were born in April 2023.

We continue to monitor the family to ensure they remain healthy, and we are excited to see the increased positive environmental impact that the larger family will have.

Beavers at Perry Hay

Plans are in place to introduce two adult beavers into a fenced enclosure at Perry Hay in Summer 2024. Volunteers are helping prepare the area, which will be approximately 15 hectares in size.

Installation of the enclosure fence began in February and will take approximately three weeks to complete. There will be minimal disruption to visitors, please follow all safety signage and any instructions from staff. 

Where will the new enclosure be?

From Spruce ride car park, Perry Hay is 1.5km down Spruce ride, the enclosure will be at the south-eastern end of Spruce Ride on the left-hand (northern) side.

From the top of Mallards Pike Lake, Perry Hay is just over a kilometre upstream.

a group of smiling forestry volunteers

Forest of Dean beaver timeline

  • 2018: first beavers are introduced into the Greathough enclosure.
  • Autumn 2019: the new male and female beavers arrive.
  • Summer 2022: sad loss of the female beaver.
  • October 2022: a new female is introduced.
  • January 2023: the Greathough Brook beaver licence was renewed for another five years.
  • April 2023: two baby kits are born.
  • Summer 2023: Forest of Dean granted new five-year project licence.
  • January 2024: work begins to prepare new enclosure at Perry Hay.
  • Spring 2024: planned introduction of new beavers.

Can you spot the beavers?

The best time to spot the beavers at Greathough Brook is during the spring and summer months during early mornings or evenings when they emerge from their lodges or burrows. Winter is also a great time to see them while the leaves are off the trees. Visitors can also see what habitat changes the beavers have made on the forest.

Explore more...

A volunteer working on the ground.
Volunteer your time with our team in the Forest of Dean. There are various roles available, including supporting our work with beavers.
beaver in the water
08 March 2023
Learn about beavers and where to see them.
Pine marten standing on tree stump looking right
Find out how we're helping wildlife to thrive and how reintroducing lost species to our landscapes.
Man  in forestry england uniform leaning on van, within pine forest
Forests care for us. Together we care for forests.

For over 100 years, we have been growing, shaping and caring for the Forest of Dean for the benefit and enjoyment of all, for this generation and the next.

Shaping the landscape for people, wildlife and timber. Supplying sustainably-sourced timber, conserving plant and animal species, recovering vital ecosystems and returning missing species to our landscapes.