Beavers save UK town from flooding by building 70m dam that is country’s largest

A town has been saved from flooding by magnificent beavers.

Boffins said the family of dam-builders have constructed a natural barrier that is protecting Pickering, North Yorkshire, from storms.

The river grafters have built the largest beaver dam in England allowing the market town’s 7,000 residents to sleep safely in their homes no matter how hard it rains.

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Since they were introduced to the River Seven in nearby Cropton Forest three years ago the eager beavers have transformed the area.

Cath Bashforth, an ecologist with Forestry England, said: “Their dam made from logs and sticks and a large amount of silt has grown from strength to strength and now extends almost 70 metres which makes it the largest beaver dam in England.

“The beavers’ progress has been amazing to watch. Their engineering and ingenuity have far exceeded what we were expecting. What a difference has been made since the project started."

Pickering had suffered major flooding for years due to heavy flows of water from moorland north of the town.

Beavers were brought in by Natural England and the North York Moors National Park Authority after the Environment Agency said it could not afford to implement a multi-million pound flood defence scheme.

The mammals have now created their own barrier which is keeping the town dry.

University of Exeter researchers said the giant dam takes the peak out of the water flow from the Moors.

A series of smaller additional dams the beavers have built downstream slows the progress of any that does get through.

“They have also moved a large clump of iris flowers from the middle of a pond and replanted them along their dam to attract more wildlife,” said Cath.

“The beavers have been busy transforming the site and creating a dynamic environment with a diverse mosaic of habitats," she added.

“We have seen an increase in the number of otters and we are getting more regular sightings of kingfishers and grey wagtails."

Local councillor Joy Andrews said: “It is a splendid example of natural elements being used to combat flooding as well as saving a considerable amount of money in the building of flood defence structures."

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