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Landscape made fit for dormice - Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Phill Hibbs by one of the new hedgerows, with a tube that will be used to monitor the presence of dormice (Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority)
Phill Hibbs by one of the new hedgerows, with a tube that will be used to monitor the presence of dormice (Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority)

Woods and hedgerows across a 9.5 kilometre (six mile) stretch of mid-Wensleydale have been connected to create an ideal home for the endangered Hazel Dormouse.

Land managers have spent the past three years planting, or bringing into ‘appropriate management’, hedgerows and woodlands either side of Freeholders’ Wood at Aysgarth Falls, where dormice were reintroduced in 2008.

Farmers have even planted brambles – a plant they might usually regard as a thorny nuisance – in order to provide the mammals with late season fruit.

Although now formally completed, the impact of the three-year ‘Wensleydale Dormouse Project’ will be monitored. Simple tubes, containing inked pads, have been hung in hedges to track how far the dormice spread out from their Aysgarth stronghold.

“Local people have really taken to hazel dormice,” said project officer Phill Hibbs. “School children at Bainbridge studied them during lockdown, so they’ll know that the dormice are about to wake up from their winter torpor, while local landowners – particularly Stuart Raw at Hollins Farm and Tom Orde-Powlett of the Bolton Estate – have enthusiastically supported the work.”

Posted on: 12 April 2021

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