Guest Blog: Trentham Beaver & Wildlife Ranger - Trentham Estate
Nature & Wildlife

Harvey Tweats: Trentham Beaver & Wildlife Ranger

Time is flying for wildlife here at Trentham! It has been eight weeks since our family of Eurasian beavers were released, and more than two months since I started my new job as the Beaver and Wildlife Ranger here at Trentham.

In the time since the beavers and I took up residence, we have seen the land begin to bloom and thrum with life. If you listen carefully on lakeside walks, you’ll hear the distinctive sounds of spring; Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, and warblers. One such warbler, with a beautifully complex song, is the reed warbler. When I started here, these tiny little birds would have been flying over the backs of elephants, their tiny wings flapping, a full 4,000 miles away in Africa on their way to the UK! We are well into the bird nesting season, you’ll see young ducklings, goslings, and the impressive nests our many pairs of coots have made.

It’s not just the birds that have been busy, our beavers have, well… been beavering away! They have already started to coppice stands of sycamore, in order to reach the rich, sugary leaves at the top of the stems. This is great, it saves the Estate Team and I a job, without having to use fossil fuel powered tools, or fill out lengthy risk assessments! We can’t let the beavers take all the trees though, we have some of the rarest and oldest specimen trees in the country, so, together with the gardens team, we have protected over 1,000 trees on site.

Beavers are a keystone species, this means that they are integral to the health of our ecosystems, and already we have seen the connections between all living things here at Trentham grow stronger. For instance, small feeding sticks used by the beavers have been adopted by the coots as nesting material. I am so excited to see what other connections the beavers restore.

On one of my recent wildlife safaris, our guests and I were able to observe the incredible courtship dance of the great crested grebe. It is an impressive affair, whereby the pair dive for weeds at the lake bottom, exchange leaves, and join to make a heart shape. In fact, it is thought that this dance is where we derive the heart pattern.

I have also discovered a water vole latrine – a promising sign that our reintroduction project last year is bearing fruit. Keep your binocs focussed on the reedy margins, as you may just spot one of Britain’s rarest mammals. Regarding the margins, we plan to map them out this year, and give them a helping hand in restoring to reedbed to boost the lakeside biodiversity on site. It has been a long winter, so if you are looking to reconnect with nature while the weather is good, please join us on a safari or wildlife cruise.

For those wildlife lovers who want to take their interest to the next level, we’ll soon be launching our exclusive wildlife memberships. In addition to all the benefits of our regular membership, you can enjoy having 24/7 access to the estate, to get that perfect shot of a kingfisher, or see our beavers in the first light of dawn! Make sure you’re following us on our social channels to keep up-to-date.

You can learn more about how we’re making Trentham a place for people, nature, and wildlife to thrive, and explore all the fantastic opportunities for you to experience wildlife at Trentham, including our Daytime Safari Walks and Wildlife Boat Cruises here.