A version of this article appeared in the April 2018 issue of the Countryside Management Association’s East of England regional newsletter. You can find out more about membership of the CMA on their website.
We have been managing habitats with dormice in mind for quite some time at Belhus Woods Country Park. The site straddles the border between Essex and London, and includes ancient woodland, coppice, gravel lakes, meadows and rough grassland. We’ve not found any dormice yet through surveying but we hope they will eventually be a presence on site. With this in mind, we are also trying to increase our skills and knowledge when it comes to this interesting mammal, so it was with great pleasure that we hosted two Countryside Management Association training days in March led by the South East region’s Phil Bolton as part of the dormouse training programme. Both days were a hit, being fully booked out with a great group of people interested in learning more about dormice.
Some of the training resources used on a dormouse training day.
Checking dormouse boxes – one of the methods to survey for dormice.
We are hoping to hold more protected species training at Belhus Woods Country Park, including a possible Dormouse training day in Autumn to look at habitat management for dormice. We would also like to hear from other sites that are willing to host protected species training days run by Phil/CMA. Do you own or manage a site in the East region with dormice for example? If so please get in touch.
On Friday 23rd Feb I went on the Countryside Management Association SE Region’s training day “Ecology & Conservation Workshop for Dormice” at Bluewater in Kent. The day covered a lot of information about Dormouse habitat requirements, legislation, handling techniques and more.
The CMA’s East region are teaming up with the SE region to offer some of their protected species training days here in Essex: we have dates for Dormouse training to take place at Belhus Woods Country Park on 13th March and 27th March.
13 Mar 2018: CMA Training “Erecting dormice nest boxes and tubes; maintenance of existing boxes”
Belhus Woods Country Park, Essex.
10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Part of the Dormice training programme. This workshop focusses on the practical side of things. Ideal for Rangers working in or managing woodlands or would like to work towards their class 1 dormice licence. (more info & tickets)
27 Mar 2018: CMA Training “Ecology and Conservation of Dormice”
Belhus Woods Country Park, Essex.
10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Part of the Dormice training programme. This covers the theory side of things, including: Current legislation relevant to dormice; Survey techniques and field signs; dormice ecology; and Dormice habitat and Management. Ideal for Rangers working in or managing woodlands or would like to work towards their class 1 dormice licence. (more info & tickets)
We are also hoping to hold further training days later in the year, looking at Great Crested Newts and Bats, and there may be additional training days at other sites in the future too. If you’re a CMA member, watch your inboxes for more information. If you’re not a member yet, you can keep an eye on the CMA website…. or why not join? Then you hear about all of the training days, and can attend most of them for free!
A Ranger blogging about nature conservation, wildlife, and travel.