Posted by: KimBoland | January 31, 2013

National Trust provide homes on Gower.

Volunteers and schools are giving a helping hand to our cutest, endangered species, the dormouse.

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The National Trust team on Gower, are looking for volunteers to make dormouse boxes and help with coppicing in the woodland of BishopstonValley

Horticultural students from Neath Port Talbot College, pupils from Olchfa School and other volunteers have already been getting stuck in, making dormouse boxes to provide a warm, dry and safe place for dormice to make their nests.

We’ve also teamed up with the local Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales who, with the help of a group of hardy volunteers, have just coppiced an area of hazel and sycamore trees in the Widegate area of BishopstonValley. Coppicing involves cutting back the hazel and sycamore. This allows more light to the forest floor so that more plants can grow there, which means more food and nesting materials for the dormice. The hazel and sycamore will grow new shoots and in 15-20 years they get cut back again.

vols coppicing( from helen grey flyer)

This work helps us to encourage dormice and manage the woodland as it would have been done for hundreds of years. This also benefits The Gower Charcoal Makers, who are using the cut wood to make a local product.

Anyone wanting to learn about and have a go at coppicing for conservation can join us for a free, , Countryside Connections workshop in BishopstonValley on 4 and 5 February 2013. To Book call Helen Grey on 01792 636893. The workshop is funded by the Rural Development Plan.

Dormouse numbers have more than halved in the last hundred years. They like to live in woodland and hedgerows with a wide variety of plants. As these places become rarer, so dormice numbers drop. Despite being known as the Hazel Dormouse, they eat many things – nuts, berries, insects, flowers, buds and seeds. These animals are quite different from other mice and hibernate underground for up to 7 months of the year. They are nocturnal, which means you’re unlikely to see them during the day.

“BishopstonValley is the perfect place for dormice.” says Kathryn Thomas, National Trust Ranger. “We are delighted that an Environment Wales grant has enabled us to improve the habitat conditions in the valley, especially for dormice.”

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Responses

  1. Nice piece about these charming creatures. I’ll think about them the next time I walk through the Bishopston valley.


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