PICTURES: Rare dormouse snores in Surrey ranger’s palm

A snoring dormouse was caught cuddling her tail as it napped in a National Trust ranger’s hand at Holmwood Common, near Dorking.

Rangers from the conservation charity were looking for rare hazel dormice in the 50 nest boxes that have been placed on the Surrey common, which was once owned by William the Conqueror.

dormouse in hand

National Trust ranger Sophie Parker discovered a snoring female dormouse cuddling her tail during a regular survey for the rare mammals at Holmwood Common, near Dorking. CREDIT: Sophie Parker/National Trust. 

Sophie Parker, National Trust area ranger at nearby Leith Hill, discovered the female dormouse at the end of April whilst checking the boxes under the supervision of a licensed handler from the Surrey Dormouse Group. Continue reading

85 years on from the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass rangers battle to restore the rare Peak District bog

A Peak District hillside that became a battleground ramblers’ right to roam is now at the centre of a new fight – as rangers battle to save one of the world’s rarest nature habitats.

This weekend walkers, campaigners and rangers celebrated the 85th anniversary of the Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout.

On 24 April, 1932, hundreds of walkers descended on the Peak District moor to draw attention to their inability to roam in the countryside. They were met by gamekeepers determined to stop them.

The trespass saw six ramblers arrested – but sparked a campaign that would eventually see law passed to allow people to walk freely over land in places like national parks.

One of the gritstone boulders standing amongst smaller stones on the heath, part of the Kinder Scout Rock formation in the Peak District, Derbyshire

One of the gritstone boulders standing amongst smaller stones on the heath, part of the Kinder Scout Rock formation in the Peak District, Derbyshire. CREDIT: Joe Cornish/National Trust Images

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Expert Matthew Oates picks his favourite spring wildlife as holly blue butterfly booms

Britain is enjoying a holly blue butterfly boom as warm temperatures cause spring wildlife to flourish.

National Trust gardeners report one of the best years in decades for the holly blue butterfly, but nature experts confess that the reasons for the butterfly explosion remain a mystery.

Holly blue male in Gloucestershire CREDIT Matthew Oates, National Trust Images.jpg

Holly blue butterfly (c) Matthew Oates/National Trust Images

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National Trust backs Forestry Commission’s Keep It Clean campaign

The Forestry Commission has called on visitors to woods and forests to help stop the spread of plant diseases.

The quango, which manages 900,000 hectares of woods and forests in England, has launched a new campaign, Keep It Clean. Bosses at the Commission are asking people to clean mud and leaves from boots, buggies and bikes before and after visiting woodlands.

Taking these small steps could help slash the risk of spreading damaging plant diseases like phytophthora ramorum, the Forestry Commission said.  Continue reading

Natural Childhood report – five years on

Five years on from the Natural Childhood report more families than ever are enjoying nature at National Trust places.

Last year almost 4.5 million family members visited the conservation charity’s places – with visits growing steadily over the last five years.

BioBlitz5, Copyright National Trust, credit Steven Haywood

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PICTURES: Spring daffodil display at Cornwall’s Cotehele

Bright yellow daffodils banished grey sky blues for Cornish tot Pearl Fogarty.

The four-year-old spent the day in the gardens at Cotehele, near Saltash, Cornwall, which boast more than 250 varieties of daffodils.

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Pearl Fogarty, 4, with the daffodils at Cotehele, Cornwall. Credit: Steven Haywood / National Trust Images

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New research lands Victorian fin whale discovery at Cotehele

A giant jawbone in a Cornish stately home has at last been found to be from a Victorian fin whale – thanks to a mixture of cutting edge DNA analysis and archival research.

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Acting house and collections manager Nick Stokes with the whale bones at Cotehele, Cornwall. (c) Steven Haywood / National Trust Images

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