Spains Hall Estate and partners have won the CIEEM Award for Best Practice: Small Scale Nature Conservation!
The beaver and Natural Flood Management (NFM) project at Spains Hall Estate started in 2018. After securing £40,000 of funding from the Anglian Eastern RFCC and Coca-Cola, the estate led the construction of a 4-hectare (10 acre) woodland enclosure, 8 leaky dams and a series of field-edge attenuation ponds to reduce flooding of Finchingfield and the surrounding roads.
Two Eurasian beavers were released in March 2019 and since then the family has grown to six and created over 25 dams and several large pools which store water all year round as well as slowing flood flows. The leaky dams spread water onto the floodplain upstream of the village along around 1km of river, further slowing the flow and reducing the flood level for residents of Finchingfield.
Willow, one of the female beavers at Spains Hall Estate - Photo Credit: Russel Savory
Original project partners included the Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust (who carried out ecological survey work, NFM advisory work and hosted the RFCC’s funding) Essex Wildlife Trust (who assisted with ecological advisory work, enclosure design, and ecological survey work) and the Environment Agency (who provided NFM advice, funding support, and flood modelling).
To find out more about this conservation success story visit the Spains Hall Estate website!