The reintroduction of beavers to Northumberland National Park is to be explored as part of a new 20 year vision now open for consultation.
The draft vision of how the 405 square miles of Northumberland National Park will look and feel in 2035 focuses on aspirations for the area’s distinctive open moorland habitats, woodlands, wildlife and enclosed in-bye land.
One of the central planks of the vision is the aim to interconnect habitats to give year-round food sources for wildlife and to provide the wealth of native species with room to expand their populations or find refuge in the event of environmental change.
The aim is that by 2035 curlew will be widespread, red squirrels will be found across the national park, otters and migratory fish will be found in all river catchments and freshwater pearl mussel and white- clawed crayfish will be present in current locations with expanded populations.
It is hoped that other more common species such as brown hares, bats, red grouse, roe deer, snipe, lapwing, dippers, wild goats, bumblebees, butterflies and beetles, wood cranesbill, bog asphodel and orchids will also be regularly seen.
Opportunities to reintroduce species that have been missing from the national park (or parts of it) for a long time such as beavers, pine martens, various butterfly species and plants will be explored, and supplementing species that have low numbers or limited populations such as hen harrier, black grouse, dwarf birch, and whin grassland will also be considered.
The authority hopes that landowners, farmers, people who live and work in or like to visit the park will feed back their approval, concerns or contributions.
Andrew Miller, the authority’s head of programmes and conservation, said: “Northumberland National Park is home to a great variety of wildlife, much of it dependent upon the continuing management provided by farmers, foresters and game managers.
“By jointly agreeing a vision for the future of the natural environment we can work to ensure future generations will continue to enjoy the birds, plants and animals that make this such a special place.”
To contribute comments, go to the Northumberland National Park Authority website and respond by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write by post at Northumberland National Park HQ in Hexham by Monday, February 24.