Deer are the largest wild animal you are likely to see in the Wye Valley AONB whilst the tiny dormouse is definitely the cutest. We have the biggest population of lesser horseshoe bats in the UK and the smallest population of beavers at just 2! Beavers have been extinct in Britain for around 500 years, but have recently been reintroduced to the area as part of a Forestry Commission trial. Two of these semi-aquatic animals have been released in a secure site near Lydbrook. It is hoped they will help prevent flash flooding as their dams will slow the flow of water through a densely wooded valley into the Wye where there has been severe flooding in the past. It’s thought the beavers will also improve the biodiversity of the site as the dams they build create pools, ponds and ditches, providing new habitats for insects, mammals and birds. Beavers are ‘ecosystem engineers’ as they have the ability to dramatically shape and modify their surrounding environment.
Here are a few of our favourite species (which you are more likely to spot than beavers) in the Wye Valley AONB.