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 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.
The hazel dormouse is a declining species across England but is known to be present within the surrounds of the scheme area, one of its northernmost outposts in the UK. Its decline is linked to the cessation and fragmentation of coppice woodland. It is a shy mammal that is dependent on the dense shrub layer, ample food and cover, which actively coppiced woodland provides. The species can also suffer when populations become isolated in a landscape. Hedgerows, therefore, can provide essential corridors between woodlands.
We have involved and brought together a number of key partner organisations, interested members of the local community and experts to become involved within the monitoring programme. Volunteers have been recruited and trained in dormouse monitoring techniques, which they can continue to use in the future and help educate others. The training involved repairing nest boxes, installing new boxes and carrying out nut hunts. The results from the surveys carried out over the last three years will contribute to the understanding of dormouse populations in the South Lakes. They will help in the development of a broader future strategy for the conservation of species in the area.
No charge. Cancel anytime. We value your privacy and will not share your details.