Are there any Dormice in the Fishpool Valley?
That was the question. We don’t think so but is it likely we would have seen them as we go crashing around with chainsaws & strimmers. Why the interest? It’s all to do with the Fishpool Valley project, the picturesque landscape movement and the plans to restore the valley to how it might have been in 1820. Still not quite clear what the relationship is between the picturesque and dormice?
Before any really serious work takes place, the felling of trees and the civil engineering on the dams, we need to know about the wildlife and plants that need to be protected. There are numerous aquatic plants, lichen, Fungi, beetles, slugs, snails, ……well the list goes on a bit but these are in addition to our White Clawed Cray fish, the Bats and the Birds; many of these are nationally or regionally rare and have special protected status; so do Dormice! Something we might have overlooked in terms of what we thought lived in the valley. We’ve surveyed just about everything else and so it’s the turn of the Dormice.
Dormice are those cute timid little members of the rodent family; they are nocturnal and spend most of the summer up in the trees. They come down in the winter to hibernate in hedges or on the ground. In order to discover if there are any in the Fishpool Valley an initial survey was carried out to see if there are suitable habitats that would sustain a dormouse community; having established that there are, we spent a day putting out dormouse nest boxes, there are about fifty boxes in various areas, they will remain in place throughout the winter and if there are any dormice around it is hoped they will make use of the boxes next summer. We will then go around in about June/July time to see how many we have.
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