Beaver Project

Bringing beavers back to Dorset

Beaver © Nick Upton / Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Beavers are herbivores - they don't eat fish!
Beavers create wetland habitats that help wildlife
Beavers help people by improving water quality
Beaver dams and habitats can reduce flood risk

Help us bring back nature's engineers

After a 400-year absence, we are planning to reintroduce and study a pair of beavers in an enclosed trial, so that we can see the difference they make to an enclosed area and waterway. We have a potential site and have secured a significant part of the total funding needed to start the project but we still urgently need to raise the last £20,000 to deliver the full project.

For every £1 that you give, £10 in match funding from grants could be released; which means that your donation, no matter how big or small, will make a considerable difference. 


This isn't just about the reintroduction of a species - it's about the reintroduction of an entire ecosystem that's been lost.

How you can help

Beaver © Nick Upton/Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Donate £10 to help us release vital funds

Get beavers back in Dorset
David Parkyn © David Parkyn/ Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Donate £50 to part-fund the arrival of one of our beavers

Help us to relocate our newest residents
David Parkyn © David Parkyn/ Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Donate £90 and help fund a trail camera

Help us see the lives of these amazing creatures

Why beavers are important for Dorset

Beavers are often referred to as 'ecosystem engineers'. They make changes to their habitats, such as digging canal systems, damming water courses, and coppicing tree and shrub species, which create diverse wetlands that benefit both people and wildlife. 

  • They help to reduce downstream flooding - the channels, dams and wetland habitats that beavers create hold back water and release it more slowly after heavy rain
  • They benefit other species, such as otters, water shrews, water voles, birds, invertebrates (especially dragonflies) and breeding fish 
  • They increase water retention and clean water
  • They reduce siltation, which pollutes water

Did you know? Myth busting facts

  • Beavers are vegetarians. They do not eat fish. In fact, they are known to co-exist well with them, boosting fish populations. Beavers snack on riverside plants, grasses, as well as tree bark and shoots.
  • Beavers feel safest in still, deep water (around 70cm). They are very unlikely to stray far from it and will create dams if the water levels aren’t what they would like them to be.
  • Where beavers go – more wildlife will follow. Beavers create diverse wetland habitats that can provide a home for a wide range of wildlife such as amphibians, water voles, dragonflies, birds and even plants.
  • Beaver dams vary in size and structure. In many cases they are small temporary structures made of twigs, which gradually break down as water levels rise. In others, they can be larger stable structures that create big ponds. Both water and fish are able to move through and around them and they are not the huge dam structures made by the North American beaver.

  • Beavers can reduce flooding. Beaver dams slow the flow of water; in storms more water is stored; in droughts more water is available. The potential for beavers to reduce flooding and maintain baseflows downstream is significant.

  • Beavers can improve water quality. Impoundment of water behind dams can positively affect the quality of water by diffusing pollutants being transported downstream. Their dams act as sediment traps cleaning our waters.

Help beavers across the UK

Together with The Wildlife Trusts we're asking the Government to publish a beaver strategy for England. 

Add your name

The Scottish Wildlife Trust beaver © Steve Gardner 

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Beaver - Nick Upton/Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Long Read - more about Beavers in Dorset

Read more

Beaver © David Parkyn/ Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Devon Wildlife Trust Beaver Trial

This five-year trial started with two family groups in 2015 which have now bred and dispersed throughout the catchment.

Read about the trial

Devon Wildlife Beaver female with kits © Mike Symes 

Help bring beavers back to Dorset

For every £1 that you give, £10 in match funding from grants could be released; which means that your donation, no matter how big or small, will make a considerable difference. 

Donate today