Bevis Trust purchases Rickets Mill
After about six years of negotiations, the Bevis Trust has now purchased Rickets Mill, a 14 acre trout farm adjoining the west end of the farm. This is the first property actually in the name of the Bevis Trust, the intention being that the entire farm will eventually be taken over by the Trust.
The Trust’s interest in the property is two-fold. One is that the old mill, which is now demolished, used to obtain water using a leat following the river about 1 km upstream, and therefore it owns a riverine strip of bog and woodland, which connects to the farm. This contains a variety of species, including tawny owls and we look forward to surveying it properly. The remaining nine acres which includes a house suitable for a warden, is a water meadow with two trout ponds. Currently these contain rainbow trout, which we will remove. Then we will erect a predator-proof ring fence around the whole meadow so that we can restore the habitat to mixed meadow/scrub/ and woodland to host a variety of native species including water voles and a pair of beavers. We can also work on invertebrates, fish, amphibians and reptiles. The beaver re-introduction is slowly working its way through the administrative process and badly needs a public face. So we hope to build a hide or visitor viewing area over-looking the ponds. We do not plan to have this open as a visitor centre on a daily basis, but to use it for booked educational visits, and for specialist wildlife management courses. As the beaver work progresses, it will be essential to develop a core team of trained people able to undertake management of beavers so that there is minimal conflict with human activities.
There will be a lot of physical work to do, but first we have to define our plans and put in planning applications. All this will take time and it will be a step by step process. But we have taken the first step and this is a milestone in the journey of the Bevis Trust.