Jamie Oliver will welcome two families of BEAVERS onto his Essex country estate in bid to help local flooding

Jamie Oliver will welcome two new beaver families onto his country estate in a bid to help reduce flooding in the local area.

The TV chef, 47, bought an Elizabethan manor house in Finchingfield, Essex, in 2019, and a pair of beavers were introduced onto the Spains Hall Estate the same year.

In 2020, his adult Eurasian beavers, Woody and Willow, then had two babies, known as kits.

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

The £350,000 project will see two new 50-acre enclosures built, 10 times the size of the original enclosure which was built in 2019.

Funded by an environmental partnership, the project is Jamie's bid to reduce the risk of flooding in the local area.

The beavers build dams which slow river flows and redirect them into new channels and wetlands.

Woody and Willow's dams have already helped with this year's drought.

Their dams slowed the release of retained water, thereby protecting local wildlife in the area.

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.'

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.'