Beavers and the National Trust

Beavers disappeared from Britain about 500 years ago because they cannot co-exist with people in a settled landscape. These energetic, powerful rodents can quickly bring down quite large trees with their orange iron-reinforced front teeth and are a tremendous pest to farming and highly destructive of woodland. The beaver-people know this. They gleefully describe them as ‘natural eco-system engineers’, capable of quickly transforming flowing streams, woodland and fields into strings of ponds and marshland. Part of their nonsense is to give the impression that beavers use their ‘engineering’ skill strategically to build dams that will somehow reduce flooding, when in fact, their dams create flooding. They gnaw trees erratically, almost at random, some they fell and abandon, while others they leave to die looking like a giant pencil balanced on a stump. The rest they jam haphazardly across the watercourse, adding mud and stones, until the water is dammed to create the lake in which they build their lodge with more felled trees, branches and mud.

Recently, the National Trust’s ‘Wilder Wallington’ team held a few public relations events to soften us up for the imminent release of beavers – part of their ‘re-wilding’ – which also involves planting a million trees on 1,250 acres of farmland by 2025. They are fencing 50 acres – part of a farm they took in hand last year and left unoccupied – with over a mile and a quarter of wire-netting, into an enclosure for ‘a family’ of beavers – up to six – which includes woods, a large grazing field and a river and some streams. The grassland itself would have supported 40 or 50 ewes, but dedicated to aquatic rodents it will soon revert to the marshland it was 300 years ago. The fencing has to be strong and chest-height, because beavers can gnaw and climb, and angled out at the bottom and pegged down, because they can dig. Grilles are to be installed across the watercourses and will have to be cleared regularly of debris. Every tree in a stand of ancient oaks has to be protected by wire netting to save them from the new residents. It’s a mystery how they can reconcile beavers’ tree felling with their own tree-planting. Anyway, beavers can only be confined until they find a way out. The Wilder Wallington people freely admit their escape would not be unwelcome. Start them off in a ‘secure’ enclosure and when they inevitably get out, there’s nothing can be done because they’re protected by law. It’s all really clever. No land with a stream running through will be safe from the eco-warriors who will have penetrated every part of the British countryside by their agents of destruction.

The NT admit that their original plan, now modified, was to ‘re-wild’ all of Wallington’s 13,500 acres, to create a ‘carbon sink’ to ‘sequester carbon’ to offset their ‘carbon emissions’ on the rest of their properties nationwide. They claim this would increase ‘biodiversity, air quality, soil health’ and ‘prioritise opportunities that also deliver wider co-benefits for climate change adaptation’ – whatever that may mean. Wallington would no longer be ‘emitting carbon’ by 2030, instead, it would be ‘sequestering’ carbon and playing its part in the NT ‘achieving net zero’ by 2030.

This is straight out of the playbook of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that has decreed 20% of farmland will have to be ‘released’ before 2050 to keep the increase in global temperature to 1.5 – 2.0C. It’s fully supported by the British government, directed by the WEF and such global panjandrums as Bill Gates. Almost all British government policies now have an ‘environmental’ element, with a particular antipathy to farming, which is now secondary to ‘nature’ – and the NT is well up with this, achieved by the state bribing farmers not to produce food. Instead they are to be park-keepers and nannies for the ‘biodiversity’ intended to displace crops, livestock and ultimately farmers themselves. It’s yet another mystery how they can reconcile ‘eating local’ with their scheme that will produce little that’s edible to humans from their estate.

But then none of what they’re doing makes sense. If you point this out they fall back on the ultimate justification for nearly every idiocy – ‘climate change’. Beavers, bogs and trees are somehow going to reduce ‘global warming’. They make the vague and mendacious claim that farming ‘degrades’ the soil, so farmland must be made ‘nature friendly’ by 2025 to ‘allow plants and animals to thrive’. Why doesn’t that include sheep and cattle and the grassland that feeds them? Because the animals and plants they want to ‘thrive’ are, almost by definition, of no direct benefit to humanity. Rather they are, like the beavers, emblems of the insanity that has the Western world in its grip, symbols of everything going wrong in the British countryside – and in the wider Western world – and part of an apparent global campaign to reduce our capacity to feed ourselves.

Those NT farming tenants who know how to grow things on their land and

don’t want to live off state bribes and are less than sanguine about beavers and re-wilding fantasies, are to be subject to re-education by the NT. It is going to ‘work in partnership with [its farming] tenants … to support long-term behaviour change’. In other words, their farmers will have to compromise their farming in favour of ‘restoring nature’. One pernicious (perhaps intended) effect of this is to create discord where none existed. Farmers are cast as ignorant, even wicked, despoilers of ‘nature’, who must be made to see the error of their ways by virtuous ecologists and environmentalists. And if they don’t fall into line, they will be replaced by a new type of pliable tenant who will combine the NT’s version of ‘farming with nature’ with obeisance to ‘net zero’ and ‘combatting climate change’.

They have made a start with replacement, by letting part of one of their farms to West End Women and Girls Trust from Newcastle. They proclaim that at their ‘beautiful smallholding in the wilds of Northumberland … women and girls (and anyone who identifies as a woman) can grow and harvest together, have fun and be free in the wilds … while [they] joyfully smash the Patriarchy together’ and … er …‘re-home donkeys and goats’.

A beaver came in the night (for they are secretive and nocturnal) and felled that ornamental tree in your front garden? You should be honoured that you’ve been chosen to support this ‘fascinating species’, as the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals describes them, despite the Scottish government having to cull over 200 of the 1,200 that have proliferated across Scotland since their release in ‘a trial’ in 2009.

When the beavers inevitably escape and colonise somebody else’s land, only the state can authorise ‘trained’ and licensed ‘experts’ to move them, or as a last resort, cull them. Of course that raises an outcry from kindly animal lovers who form a considerable majority of the British urban population, but they don’t realise there is nothing benign about beavermania. It is a blow aimed directly at the heart of our civilisation.

© Philip Walling

March 20th 2023

Philip Walling

By Philip Walling

Having been a farmer and practised as a barrister, I am now a writer with two books published so far: Counting Sheep (2014) and Till the Cows Come Home (2018).

I am interested in everything to do with the countryside, rural history, humanity and the way we live now.

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