Dormice are one of our most iconic and appealing mammals. Many people will recognise the image of a sleeping dormouse, but dormice also tell us a lot about the landscapes in which they live. They are arboreal, meaning they live almost all of their lives in the trees, climbing from branch to branch along narrow twigs. To move about they need a network of small woodlands and hedgerows with a wide range of plants and trees. This diversity of plants is important as dormice cannot eat leaves, so depend upon berries, nuts, seeds and flower petals to sustain them. They also need space to make nests (they are particularly fond of using the long climbing stems of honeysuckle to weave these) and to hibernate over the winter.
Somerset Wildlife Trust is aware that the hedgerows and woodlands around Bruton provide suitable habitat for the species. We also have evidence from historic records and more recent surveys of dormice existing at some local sites. This year, as part of our Selwood Living Landscape programme, Somerset Wildlife Trust are hoping to find out more about where dormice are living around Bruton, to build a better picture of their distribution. This will then help to engage landowners to undertake management that will help the animals to move across the landscape, and connect isolated populations.
In partnership with the National Trust at Stourhead we are looking for volunteers to help us find hazelnuts that show evidence of being eaten by dormice. If you live locally and think you could help us on the ‘Great Selwood Nut Hunt’ – this could be while walking your dog or taking the grandchildren on a walk through the woods – we are holding a training workshop to help you gain the skills to become a volunteer Dormouse Nut Hunter.
This workshop will be taking place on Sunday 9 October between 10am and 1pm at the Discovery Centre, National Trust Stourhead.
To book for the event or for more information about our work in the area please contact Matthew Marshall (firstname.lastname@example.org or 01823 652 410).