Dormice have been found in a North Wales wood for the first time since the 1990s. The discovery was made on land near St Asaph in Conwy which is managed through a conservation project run by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
Thirty nesting boxes were put up in 2008 by staff and volunteers from BASC’s Green Shoots North Wales project and the North Wales Wildlife Trust. There are historic records of dormice in the area but none had been seen for a number of years. The hope was that any remaining dormice would use the boxes. The boxes have been checked since 2008 but contained only birds’ and bees’ nests. However, late this year dormice were re-discovered using the boxes in the wood.
Audrey Watson, BASC’s Green Shoots North Wales officer, said: “I had checked the boxes in the summer and was disappointed not to find any evidence of dormice. But when we lifted the lid of one of the boxes, we saw a ball-shaped nest covered in fresh leaves – a sure sign of a dormouse nest – and it moved. A licensed volunteer from the North Wales Wildlife Trust took the dormice out and weighed and checked them."
Sally Conyers, from the North Wales Wildlife Trust, said: “We found two juvenile males and a juvenile female, all of which hopefully were the right weight to survive winter. This is only the third site in Conwy to record dormice. It gives us hope that other woods in the area may also have some and that we can encourage landowners to plant linking hedges and woodlands to enable dormice and other wildlife to move between woods and help expand their populations.”
If you think your wood in North Wales may be suitable for dormice nest boxes, contact Audrey Watson on 07739 499800 or email email@example.com
To watch a short film on how to recognise one of the field signs left by dormice, click here.
Photograph courtesy of the North Wales Wildlife Trust.