FWAG South East Projects


Test Valley Dormouse Project

The Test Valley Dormouse project is a collaborative project with FWAG South East, Test Valley Borough Council, People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Hampshire Dormouse Group and the Woodland Trust.

The hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) has declined by 50% since 2000. This has been mainly due to changes in woodland management, farming practices and hedgerow loss. Climate change is also increasing the pressure on food resources and hibernation.

This project aims to increase the connectivity and area of well-managed wooded habitat within the northern Test Valley; subsequently allowing a healthy population of dormice to thrive and eventually spread.

Since 2016, we have been conducting:

Dormouse surveys: From spring to autumn, we (and our dedicated volunteers) have been surveying across sites in the Test Valley.

Over the 2022 season, 4 hedgerows were monitored for signs of dormice, with 20 footprint tunnels set up in each hedge and checked each week for 8 weeks. Unfortunately there were no dormouse footprints identified on the footprint papers during this survey season. 

Nest boxes are also set up across the Test valley and checked. Recently when cleaning the nest boxes there was a dormouse seen. Which is unusual as they typically hibernate on the ground, where temperature levels are more stable. 

Habitat surveys: Across the area we completed habitat surveys to identify opportunities to improve management, where new hedgerows or tree planting could benefit dormice and sites which may already have dormice present.

Public engagement with landowner events, project presentations at the National Dormouse Conference, involving students and volunteers in surveys, newsletters

What’s next?

Restoring hedgerows and improving hedgerow management for dormice

Focussing survey efforts on sites within a 1- 2km radius of known dormice sites, including identified areas that have not been surveyed yet

Helping landowners survey their own hedges and woodland

Training volunteers to do hedgerow and footprint surveys (postponed due to covid-19)

For more information visit the project Twitter page here.


FWAG South East LLP
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