Volunteers protecting dormice in Nottingham have received materials from a national housebuilder to help them better monitor the endangered creatures.
Nottinghamshire Dormouse Group's Lorna Griffiths collects drainpipe sections from Bovis Homes' Edwalton Fields
Bovis Homes – part of the newly-formed Vistry Group – has donated drainpipe sections to the Nottinghamshire Dormouse Group to allow them to monitor hazel dormice that nest higher up in trees.
Members of the voluntary group successfully reintroduced the dormice, which are thought to have become extinct in the county in the mid-20th century, to Treswell Wood near Retford, in 2013, and two further woodlands, within an hour to the housebuilder’s Edwalton location, Edwalton Fields.
Louise Macrae, regional marketing manager at Vistry, said: “We are delighted to donate this
material to the Nottinghamshire Dormouse Group, to support them in better assessing endangered hazel dormice in county woodlands.
“We have drainpipe sections left over from our nearby locations, including Edwalton Fields, and were very happy to put this to good use, to aid and support local wildlife and the environment, especially for a species that needs every bit of help possible.”
The volunteer group checks the health and breeding levels of the dormice by monitoring their nest boxes, which are currently installed at chest height – meaning those that are in the tree canopy can be missed. The volunteers will use the drainpipe in their design of new boxes that are placed higher up and can be brought down with a telescopic hook.
Lorna Griffiths, Nottinghamshire Dormouse Group chairperson, said: “We are so thankful for this drainpipe donation from Bovis Homes. One of the roles of the group is to undertake regular monitoring of nest boxes, to determine how the dormice are doing, whether they are breeding and how healthy they are.
Dormice in Nottinghamshire
“To do so we use purpose-built nest boxes placed at chest height on trees. Unfortunately, this means that we may be missing a large percentage of the dormice that are inhabiting the tree canopy.
"So, we are hoping to build some boxes, that are better designed, to be installed higher up on the trees and can be retrieved using a telescopic hook, to prevent us having to use ladders and climb the trees. The design we have opted for is constructed from sections of drainpipe and Bovis Homes has been very generous in meeting our needs."
The volunteer group undertakes monthly monitoring sessions during the dormouse active season between April and October. Nest boxes have been installed in Treswell, Gamston and Eaton woods and last year saw the highest count yet since they were reintroduced, with 106 in total across the three areas.