The Rusland Valley was identified as a potential breeding area for the endangered Hazel Dormouse. Nationally it is a declining species but is known to be present here in the north west.
In order to help this evocative species, there was a need identified to assess the species occurrence in the scheme area, learn more about what we could do to conserve their habitats, whilst also raising the awareness in the local community. Through installation and monitoring of nesting boxes, the project has tried to confirm if indeed there are dormouse populations in the area and to what extent.
The data, information and findings have been gathered together and are now being used to make recommendations for conservation and woodland management. This will help to improve outcomes for any existing, and future, dormouse populations.
The project that ran during the Rusland Horizons Landscape Partnership was very fortunate to be supported by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), who provided training for volunteers and carried out an assessment of the area.
During 2020, further monitoring and maintainence of the existing 450 dormouse boxes took place, and this monitoring cycle is scheduled to take place once again in 2021.
- 450 dormouse nest boxes have been installed, with continued monitoring, over a 10 ha area on 13 different sites.
- Local community volunteers kindly gave their time to help with nest box monitoring, learn about dormice and how they are part of Rusland’s heritage.
- A Dormous Action Group was formed which will remain in place to continue the monitoring and checking of existing nest boxes.
- Many private landowners have committed and engaged with the project.
- Several educational, and fun, nut hunt events held, encouraging local community involvement.
- People have learnt how to spot a hazel dormouse; looking at how nuts are gnawed to determine if it was a dormouse that had been eating them!
- Many other interesting and exciting wildlife findings, such as; shrews, woodmice, bats, insects and lots of different bird’s nests.