Ecologist Rosie Jackson and trustee John Chew – photo by Kevan Wind

There’s only one way to find out for sure whether we have dormice at Hazeland, and that’s to install homes and monitor them. The Men’s Shed at Bradford on Avon made six dormice boxes for us last year and these have now been Installed in the ancient woodland by ecologist Rosie Jackson with the help of funder/supporter Anna Stevens of James Ellis Stevens Stationery.

From left: Rosie Jackson, Anna Stevens, trustee John Chew and trustee Cathy Bedford
– photo by Kevan Wind

The boxes will be checked monthly throughout the summer. However, after years of neglect, the ancient woodland at Hazeland has too much canopy and a poor understory and it’s likely that this protected, increasingly rare species is not there. It may take a year or two to confirm this, while in the meantime we improve food sources and habitat, and build woodland connectivity with our neighbours. We may then look at a reintroduction programme if ‘natural’ improvements don’t tempt them back. Here’s a useful factsheet on dormice from the Woodland Trust.