With the discovery of beaver habitats in a quiet and tranquil location near Dunkeld, Atholl Estates in Highland Perthshire is introducing dedicated tours.
This will give people the chance to catch a glimpse of these elusive animals, which are critical to the countryside’s ecological balance.
Starting this month and running until September, the European Beaver Tour will be conducted by an expert guide, who knows the best places to spot the beavers and can point out the signs of their industrious lives.
Against the beautiful backdrop of the estate, there is also the chance to see an array of other wildlife, including fallow deer, roe deer, red squirrels, mute swans, and a variety of other birds, to make this nature trail a memorable experience.
Carefully managed so as not to disturb the beavers, at the end of the 90-minute tour, the Atholl Estates’ guide will answer questions.
Julia Duncan, the countryside ranger at Atholl Estates, said: ‘It’s amazing to see the hard work of these native animals as they make themselves at home! As a keystone species, beavers have a big impact on the survival and abundance of other members of the ecological community in which they live.
‘Whilst the initial impacts of beavers’ endeavours may seem drastic, as they coppice and dam wetland areas, the results of their labours can be hugely beneficial for other wildlife and wetland systems as they regulate water flow and improve water quality.
‘Having beavers on the estate adds to the wealth of wildlife we have here. For anyone who enjoys nature and wants to learn about these wonder animals surrounded by some beautiful countryside, the tour is perfect.’
The beavers moved into the area in the autumn of 2013 and the signs of their activity are visible all around one loch. Experts in engineering, beavers fell the trees not only for construction of their burrows, dams, and lodges, but also to munch on juicy bark (they enjoy the cambium layer between the outer bark and heartwood), which is central to their vegetarian diet.
Atholl Estates is part of the Tayside Beaver Study Group and feeds information from its observations of beaver activity into its monitoring programme.
The cost is £200 for up to six people (Covid rules apply for mixing households, please check the most up to date government information prior to booking), with a 7.30 pm start time. Other tour times may be available upon request. The tour will last around 90 mins.
Available until September, bookings are taken upon request, seven days a week, subject to availability. To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01796 481 355.