A GROUND-BREAKING scheme to prevent flooding in a village has seen its workforce double ... after the birth of two baby beavers.

Last year a pair of Eurasian beavers were reintroduced to Essex for the first time in 400 years in a bid to stop flooding in Finchingfield.

The beaver duo of Woody and Willow are based on the Spains Hall Estate and have been doing what beavers do best – building natural dams.

This also creates wetlands which release water during drier periods.

Now the cuddly couple have added two new and healthy baby beavers to the estate.

Estate manager Archie Ruggles-Brise said: “We are delighted that our beavers have settled in so well that they have bred successfully.

“We always hoped their woodland home would provide the right habitat to support a family, and the arrival of two kits is fantastic news.

“If they are anything like their parents the two kits will become phenomenal dam-builders, and we will be watching closely as they expand the wetland and provide even more protection against flood and drought, and provide homes for loads of other wildlife.”

The scheme is a successful partnership project between the Environment Agency, Spains Hall Estate, Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust, Essex Wildlife Trust, and the Anglian Eastern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.

The beavers’ work is complemented by a man-made natural flood management scheme on a second stretch of Finchingfield Brook.

The flood defences are taking a “leaky dam” approach which sees tree branches or trunks secured across a watercourse to slow the water flow after heavy rain.

The Environment Agency’s Matt Butcher said: “This is a fantastic project for the Environment Agency to be part of.

“It has been really exciting to see how the beavers have engineered their environment by building dams, slowing the flow and holding up water to reduce the risk of flooding downstream.

“The complex habitat they have created along the way is amazing and improving all the time, which makes this a real win-win for people and wildlife.

“The news of the beaver kits has just taken things to another level, and it will be incredible to see what the new members of the family will do to in the coming months and years.”

The gender of the kits is currently unknown but Spains Hall Estate is asking residents to help name them.

To take part, visit facebook.com/spainshallestate or twitter.com/spainshall.