Tag Archives: Wildlife

Dormouse Training – small mammal is a big hit!


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.


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.

Did you know, it only costs £35 to join the CMA for a year? Follow the link to join and save £5 on the cost of attending a study day! https://countrysidemanagement.org.uk/how-to-join-the-countryside-management-association/


A trip to Snowdonia

Last week I went to Snowdonia with Natasha’s family for an outdoorsy getaway. We stayed in a very out-of-the-way cottage in Gwydir Forest, Snowdonia. We were perched up in the hills above the village of Trefriw, in a cottage called Sgubor ucha – “highest barn” in Welsh apparently, as the cottage was originally a barn. 

To reach the cottage ‎required a precipitous climb through narrow country lanes, but we were rewarded with a peaceful setting and beautiful landscape on our doorstep. Ten minutes’ walking brought me up into the nearby hills with wildflowers and the sound of cuckoos calling. Thirty minutes’ walking brought me to Llyn Geirionydd, a lovely lake with a monument to Taliesin the bard (a 6th century Welsh poet). 

We didn’t just walk the hills near the cottage of course. We visited a number of places, from exploring the Italian-style village of Portmeirion through to walking up to Snowdon’s summit on the Snowdon Ranger path.

I plan to write more about Snowdonia in the future, as I’ve had some great experiences in this part of Wales!