TWO more beaver enclosures are to be built near superstar chef Jamie Oliver’s home to help reduce flood risk in the area.

The TV chef bought the Elizabethan manor house Spains Hall in Finchingfield in 2019 and a pair of Eurasian beavers were brought into the nearby estate the same year.

In 2020, the adult beavers, Woody and Willow, had two babies, known as kits.

Two more beaver enclosures are now to be built at Finchingfield Brook ahead of the introduction of two new families of beavers early next year.

The £350,000 project, funded by an environmental partnership, will see two new 50-acre enclosures built, ten times the size of the original enclosure which was built in 2019.

Archie Ruggles-Brise, Spains Hall Estate manager, said: “The chance to bring more natural engineering skills to the estate is beyond exciting.

“Since 2019 we’ve seen what beavers can do to reduce flood risk, increase drought resilience, clean water and create year-round habitat for wildlife.

“Now, thanks to the incredible support of our partners, we can supersize these benefits.

“With a massive new area to work in the beavers will help make the Finchingfield area more able to weather the changes climate change will bring and all the while providing inspiration and experience that others can use elsewhere.”

The beavers help reduce flood risk by building dams which slow down the river flow and send it through new channels and wetlands.

Throughout this year’s drought, the dams also helped river flows by slowly releasing retained water, helping to protect local wildlife.

Environment Agency lead on the project Matt Butcher said: “The beavers have shown what effective flood engineers they are in the past few years and it’ll be great to extend this to a wider area.”

Dr Robin Price, director of quality and the environment for Anglian Water, said: “The effects of climate change, including the risk of drought and flooding, are felt more keenly in the east of England more than anywhere else in the UK.

“We need to find new and better ways of dealing with the challenges they bring while continuing to protect homes and businesses – and what better way to approach the problem of flooding here in Finchingfield than this wonderful, nature-based solution.”