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Wrendale’s beavers make TV news

Hannah and Jack Dale’s rewilding efforts earn publisher eight-minute slot on ITV

 

Conservation work by Jack and Hannah Dale has just earned the Wrendale Designs owners an eight-minute slot on ITV news explaining how it inspires the artist’s work.

The full film saw Hannah, known for her delicate and detailed wildlife drawings, showing reporter Lisa Adlam around the family farm in north Lincolnshire where they’ve reintroduced beavers into the area for the first time in 400 years.

Above: Hannah Dale showed ITV’s Lisa Adlam around the rewilded family farm
Above: Hannah Dale showed ITV’s Lisa Adlam around the rewilded family farm

Thanks to the success of Wrendale’s greeting cards, gifts and home accessories, the couple have been able to rewild the 340 acres of Jack’s family farm, planting thousands of trees, allowing native seeds to regenerate which helps the bird population regroup and diversify, turning 70 acres into an enclosure for the beavers, and giving over another five acres into a series of ponds to create a haven for amphibians and insects.

“We felt it could offer more value to nature and to improving the biodiversity of area than it can to farming in a traditional way,” Hannah explained on the film which was broadcast a few days ago, as the heavy clay soil of the low-lying land stands wet for much of the year before baking hard in the summer, making it difficult to farm profitably.

Above: The beavers have been busy creating dams and helping the ecosystem
Above: The beavers have been busy creating dams and helping the ecosystem

And she gave a detailed explanation of the measures they’ve taken to ensure the nocturnal mammals stay within the area where they’ve were licensed for release in December 2023 by Natural England – and are beginning to shape their environment in a way that will benefit many other species and the natural landscape.

Hannah said: “You can’t wild release beavers into the landscape, they do come into conflict with humans because these are activities of damming and flooding, causing localised flooding so, at the moment, they’re released into enclosures like this.”

Explaining how the beavers coppice trees such as willows, which forces the plants to send out lots of vigorous growth, while also building dams which hold the water level and create vital habitats for many other creatures.

She added: “In a way they’re farming and producing more food for themselves, we call them ecosystem engineers. They also provide ecosystem services by slowing the flow of the water. When there’s a storm, you end up with localised flooding but, because the water has slowed down, it means that it’s protecting the habitats and the communities that live downstream.

Above: Wildlife inspires Hannah’s art, and Wrendale’s success allows the conservation work to continue
Above: Wildlife inspires Hannah’s art, and Wrendale’s success allows the conservation work to continue

“By preventing that catastrophic flooding, I think that could potentially be a really important tool in terms of making us more resilient to climate change.”

As spring breathes new life into the former farmland, the exciting and ever-changing outlook inspires Hannah in her wildlife illustrations for Wrendale Designs.

“It’s impossible not to be inspired when surrounded by nature and wildlife,” Hannah said, “just being outside and being immersed in it is an endless source of inspiration.

“Our vision for our farm is to maximise the benefits of nature as much as we possibly can do on the space that we’ve got. And I really would hope to inspire other people in the local area and to try to create a connected habitat system for nature.

“Nature needs scale to recover, and it would be amazing to think that what we’re doing here would could inspire others to do something similar.”

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