Caring for wildlife at Cotehele

Dormouse being weighed and measured by licenced staff as part of the Endangered Species Programme

Cotehele is teeming with wildlife which live across its wide range of habitats and we work hard to protect these creatures and maintain and improve the environment they live in and how you can help wildlife at home this winter.

The Cotehele rangers carry out regular monitoring of wildlife populations. This lets us know whether they are thriving or not and can indicate the overall health of the habitat. Birds, dormice, butterflies and bats are regularly counted by fully trained and licenced staff.  Reed Warblers were heard on the Bird Survey down by the River Tamar, dormice in the woodland and bats near Cotehele Quay.

Protecting endangered species

Dormice populations in the UK have fallen by around 1/3 since 2000 according to the wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species, partly due to habitat loss and they are now extinct in 17 English counties. They prefer to live high in the tree canopy in old deciduous woodlands and at Cotehele we're encouraging a revival in their numbers locally through woodland management and introducing nesting boxes. We've installed 50 nesting boxes across the woodlands on the Cotehele estate and licensed staff monitor these monthly and the information gathered feeds into a National Dormouse Monitoring Programme overseen by the PTES.

Can I make a difference?

There are a few simple things people can do to encourage wildlife, including dormice to thrive. Allowing gardens to get a bit messy is a great help.

Things like letting bramble grow, leaving ivy on trees and piling up fallen branches and logs where bugs will live and wildlife can hibernate can all be beneficial. 

Sleeping dormouse at Cotehele
Sleeping dormouse at Cotehele
Sleeping dormouse at Cotehele

Bats at Cotehele

‘Cotehele provides a variety of habitats to support many different species.’ says George Holmes, Lead Ranger. ‘Bats roost in hollowed trees and the nooks and crannies of the limekilns on Cotehele Quay and those identified in our recent wildlife survey at the quay include tiny pipistrelles, which are less than the size of a thumb, Noctule, Natterer’s and  Daubenton’s - sometimes called ‘water bats’ because they catch insects from the water’s surface.

A Daubenton's bat
A Daubenton's bat
A Daubenton's bat

Are bats endangered?

According to the Bat Conservation Trust, the UK counts 17 resident bat species and George says 8 of those have been found in the recent surveys on the Cotehele estate.

 ‘Dormice and bats are a vital part of our native wildlife,’ George continues. ‘Sadly, like a lot of wildlife, they are under pressure from the changing world that we live in. I like to think here at Cotehele we offer them a sanctuary and we’re currently reviewing how we manage the estate to make it more even more appealing as a habitat for different wildlife species.’

A Greater Horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) hibernates in a cave
Greater Horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) hibernating in cave
A Greater Horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) hibernates in a cave

 

A common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) flies overhead
Common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) in flight over silver birch branch
A common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) flies overhead