Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Dormouse Day for Taunton school children

 18th Mar 2011

Gadd's ValleyTaunton school children are taking part in a project to help protect threatened dormice at a local nature reserve.

Year three pupils from Cheddon Fitzpaine Primary School will be putting up dormouse nest tubes at Gadds Valley Local Nature Reserve, between Kingston St Mary and Hestercombe House, on Tuesday, March 22.

The Dormouse has disappeared from roughly half of its geographical range in Britain, but Somerset still remains a stronghold. The children will be putting up the nest tubes to try and find out if these golden furred mice are present at Gadds Valley.

The school visit is part of a project encouraging the local community to become actively involved with the nature reserve, known locally as Happy Valley. On Wednesday, April 6 there is the opportunity for adults living locally to join the British Trust for Conservation Volunteering (BTCV) and help install steps to make it easier to reach the woodland areas.

Gadds Valley: a very special place

Somerset Biodiversity Partnership Officer Alison Slade said: ”Gadds Valley is a very special place and this was recently recognised in its designation as a Local Nature Reserve. This means its rich natural heritage is protected for local people to enjoy and we hope the community will take an active role in preserving it for everyone to appreciate.”

The community project is funded by a grant from Natural England and is being carried out in partnership with the Somerset Biodiversity Partnership, Taunton Deane Borough Council and the owners of the reserve, the Crown Estate.

Local residents can visit Gadds Valley at any time. Access is via a surfaced pathway from Upper Cheddon which leads into the reserve from the public road, past a conifer plantation. After passing through a gate, the path opens up into a meadow with a small stream running along the bottom of the valley with an old quarry to one side. The sides of valley are clothed with oak woodland and bluebells which usually burst into life in April.

There is limited on road parking close to the entrance ­ please do not block the farm gate from Upper Cheddon.

If you are interested in coming along to help the BTCV please contact Paul Sheriff at BTCV on 01935 415 255 or