New dormouse town springs up at Juniper Hill

Sleepy dormouse © Marc Russell

Sleepy dormouse

Dormice have recently been designated a European protected species because of their declining numbers and vulnerability. This is mainly due to the loss of habitat, especially nesting sites, caused by large scale coppicing.

Joint project with the Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT)
Recently Dave Williams, SWT Mammal Project Officer, led a survey and found that Dormice were living on Juniper Hill. We decided to give these little creatures a helping hand and work together to increase the population.

Dormice live in trees and need to be able to move between them; coppicing causes big gaps and restricts their movements and feeding capabilities.


New homes
We’ve funded 60 new homes (boxes) and our conservation volunteer group have worked hard to put them up. Dave Williams supervised the work and has trained the volunteers to monitor the boxes for activity.

Dave said: ‘It may take a little time, but we’re hoping the dormice will move into the breeding boxes, give birth and raise their young over the coming summers. They hibernate on the ground over winter but often return to the same site for breeding. If this project is successful it should make survival a bit less of a struggle for the dormice and lead to an increase in their numbers.’

Juniper Hill is one of only 12 known sites in Surrey where dormice are found and we hope that they’ll flourish here. We’ll let you know how they get on in their new homes...