First Danbury dormouse of the year found dozing

Danbury Common

The first dormouse of the year was found dozing by National Trust ranger Alex Preston during a survey on Danbury Common, Essex.

Dormice surveys are carried out as part of ongoing conservation work in Danbury, Essex
Dozing dormouse found during a survey at Danbury Common

Alex Preston, National Trust Ranger at Danbury Common, who photographed the dormouse said: “It was great to find the first dormouse of the year here at Danbury. The female was found in what we call ‘torpor’, a state similar to hibernation. She must have been conserving energy during the recent unseasonable weather.”

In addition to the ongoing conservation work carried out by the National Trust to manage the woodlands at Danbury, 50 dormouse nesting boxes were introduced earlier this year, made and donnated by Friends of Langdon Hill and funded by local National Trust supporters. 

Rangers and volunteers regularly carry out surveys to monitor dormice from May to November, with the help of licensed handlers from the Essex and Suffolk Dormouse Group.

Nationally, Britain’s dormice are struggling and the woods at Danbury are the dormice's ideal habitat.

Alex Preston said: “We’ve recently coppiced hornbeam trees in the woods and this ongoing management of the woodland has helped create the perfect habitat for these rare mammals.”

Dormice are a legally protected species and can only be handled under license from Natural England.