© J Underhill
Installing nest tubes to survey woodland
© S Falk
© C Newton
Checking dormouse boxes & tubes
© C Griffin
Dormouse Conservation Warwickshire
The founding of Dormouse Conservation Warwickshire
Although dormice used to be widespread throughout England and Wales, their populations have decreased substantially and there are only a few scattered populations remaining in the Midlands. In 1999 Warwickshire had only six populations of dormice, according to a county-wide survey for Natural England. Only one of these appears to remain today and the species is the subject of Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP). In 2009 Ruth Moffatt, former LBAP Co-ordinator, took on the plight of the dormouse by forming what was originally named the Warwickshire Dormouse Conservation Group (WDCG) to research the current status of the species in the county. Since 2009 there have been four introductions of dormice to three woodlands; two of these populations appear to be doing well. The group has now become a subsidiary of the Warwickshire Mammal Group (WMG), who conduct all practical fieldwork.
The early work of the group
All the woodlands with reported dormouse populations in 1999 have now been surveyed, sadly with negative results, and also several other woodlands with anecdotal records of dormice since 2000. Surveys involved searching for nibbled hazelnuts and the installation of nest tubes in hedgerows and shrubs; it is believed that the best location for tubes is on the edge of woodlands where the light produces more flowers, fruits and insects than inside a wood.
Current and future work
In 2017 dormice were released into a woodland in central Warwickshire, with funding from the PTES as part of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust's Dunsmore Living Landscape scheme. A further reintroduction took place in 2018 in a nearby woodland. Nest boxes have to be checked monthly every summer and autumn beginning in May for which training is necessary. Footprint tunnels have now been installed around the introduction sites to give an indication of how the dormice are dispersing. Volunteers can get involved in checking, recording and resetting the footprint tunnels every two weeks. No handling licence is needed to do this and it does not have to be done on a specific time or date.
Want to become a volunteer?
To get involved in monitoring the dormice populations you need to sign up to become a WMG member and write what work you are interested in on the membership form.
Re-introductions of dormice to suitable woodland