Dormice are now being officially monitored at East Devon’s nature reserves. Photo by Jo King

Council’s Countryside team leader granted licence to survey nationally protected mammals

East Devon District Council Countryside Team Leader (Sites), James Chubb, has been granted a licence by Natural England to survey nationally protected dormice. The licence will allow the Countryside team to monitor this rare and declining mammal at the council’s nature reserves.

The National Dormouse Monitoring Project, which is co-ordinated by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, sets a framework for site surveys. After several years of working under the guidance of local mammologist Adrian Bayley, James is now able to undertake dormouse work under licence.

Commenting on the granting of this licence, James Chubb said:  

Adrian and I set up two woodland survey sites near Sidmouth and Seaton and for the past 12 months he has been teaching me what I need to know to be able to legally and responsibly monitor this threatened mammal on the sites we manage in East Devon. It’s a massive subject and I am so grateful to Adrian for his generous commitment of time and expertise to guide me through the training process.

Thanks to the ongoing National Dormouse Monitoring Programme, our knowledge of this nocturnal mammal is constantly growing and previously-held beliefs as to their conservation needs are being challenged and refined. Many of the local nature reserves we manage for the district council are home to this rare animal and it will be great to get a better picture of their populations here in East Devon to help us make good decisions on the maintenance of our sites for years to come.

Keeping accurate data on species living in East Devon’s nature reserves is essential in helping us manage the sites most effectively for wildlife to flourish and for people to enjoy these wild encounters. We are delighted that dormice have been found at Holyford Woods and we look forward to learning more about them.

The Countryside team and a group of volunteers will begin surveying and monitoring work at sites across East Devon over the next few months. The work will involve recording sightings of birds, reptiles, dormice and flora and fauna.

East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, Cllr Tom Wright, said: 

It is great news that James Chubb will be able to monitor the nationally rare dormouse at East Devon nature reserves. We are looking forward to hearing the results of another year of surveying, which will help to inform ongoing management plans so that the nature reserves managed by the team continue to be enjoyed by local people as well as to support a variety of wildlife.

For more information on the work of the Countryside team visit The Countryside team can be contacted on 01395 517557 or by email at