A few hours of the long Easter weekend were spent knocking together some dormouse nest boxes.
The dormouse officer at the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) has summarised dormouse distribution studies on his useful website:
It is not impossible that there may be dormice in the valley/wood, so the boxes have now been put up to encourage them.
Dormice may spend nine months of the year asleep in ground-level nests but will wake up in April/May. The dormouse is difficult to spot as it is not only nocturnal but also arboreal, rarely coming down to ground during the summer.
Dormice require a particular habitat of multi-age coppice, with a diverse and dense scrub layer. The nest boxes have been placed on hazel stems close to a clearing where brambles are rampant. Hazel nuts and blackberries are an important part of their diet, provided the grey squirrels have not stripped the hazels first.
The pattern for these boxes is by Greenways Countryside Project:
The dormouse boxes are fixed with the entrance hole to the stem to make the dormice feel safe. If “Project Dormouse” fails then we could turn the boxes round and use them as bird boxes – the dimensions would suit great tits, tree sparrows or pied flycatchers.