First record of harvest mouse found for Upton Heath Nature Reserve
Monday 26th March 2018
Conservationists and volunteers at Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) were delighted to find the first evidence of harvest mice at the Upton Heath Nature Reserve in Corfe Mullen.
The first nest discovery, made on 25th February, was made by volunteer and DWT member Anna Smith on an Urban Weekender volunteering work party. DWT staff later found two more nests in March and were able to confirm them as evidence of the presence of harvest mice. This is the first official recording of harvest mice for the 191-hectare nature reserve, Upton Heath.
DWT’s Assistant Community Conservation Officer, Jack Bedford said, “This is really exciting news and is indicative of the high-quality wildlife habitat at Upton Heath. We do know that harvest mice have been reported in the wider area, so we’re very pleased that this mammal has chosen to colonise the nature reserve there, where we can ensure that the habitat is managed sensitively as part of our ongoing work to look after the site for the benefit of wildlife and enjoyment of people.”
The harvest mouse is classified as a priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and is mostly found in central and southern England. They are the smallest rodents in Europe and the only British mammal to have a prehensile tail, able to grasp grass stems as they move through vegetation. They can be found in long tussocky grassland, reedbeds, hedgerows and around woodland edges, and build a spherical nest of tightly woven grass, high up amongst the tall grasses.
The Upton Heath Nature Reserve is part of the Great Heath Living Landscape project which was made possible by the National Lottery players and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The aim of the project is to create a landscape which is rich in wildlife and highly valued, nurtured and enjoyed by people.
Find out more about Upton Heath
Find out more about Upton Heath Nature reserve here.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
The Great Heath Living Landscape an Urban Living Landscape in Dorset delivers the following exciting objectives:
Sites include land at Hampreston and High Mead Lane, Award Road, Ferndown Common, Delph Wood, Arrowsmith Copse, Dunyeats Hill, Corfe Lodge Road, Upton Heath, Beacon Hill, Cottage Farm (Happy Bottom), Ashington Paddock, Barrow Hill, Wimborne Road, Rushcombe Bottom, Parley Common, Tricketts Cross, Lytchett Bay and Holes Bay.
The full Great Heath Living Landscape project cost was £4.7 million, we secured £2 million and were awarded £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and need to raise further funds by public appeal.
The Great Heath Living Landscape is a partnership project involving Dorset Wildlife Trust, the Erica Trust, Poole Harbour Commissioners, Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council Countryside Service, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. Partners also include Bournemouth Borough Council, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils and Natural England.
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported 36,000 projects with £6bn across the UK. For more information, please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on tel: 020 7591 6036/07973 613820.
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