A SURVEY by London Wildlife Trust staff and trained volunteers has revealed more about the elusive mammals that live in our woodlands.


The Vole Patrol project sought to discover which species of vole, shrew and mouse were populating nine woodland sites across four boroughs, and how the character and management of these woodlands can determine the numbers and types of mammals that live in them.


Results show that high numbers of wood mice and bank vole, alongside lesser populations of common shrew, pygmy shrew, yellow-necked mouse and field vole, can be found in different, suburban woodlands.


The ideal habitat for these largely nocturnal animals is a woodland that isn’t too ‘tidy’ and which isn’t completely isolated by roads and buildings, allowing wildlife to move safely to and from nearby wild spaces.


Thanks to a National Lottery grant of £97,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Vole Patrol surveys began in spring 2016.


READ MORE: Africa theme evening will help Sickle Cell charity

READ MORE: Toddlers can join PJ Masks dance parties

READ MORE: Ayckbourn Christmas comedy coming to Compass


Volunteers used a combination of safe live trapping, remote cameras and footprint tunnels to record small mammals at each site.


The most common small mammal found across the surveyed woodlands was the wood mouse, with 1,212 recorded across all nine sites. Bank vole were found at eight sites, with 595 recorded, while 28 yellow-necked mice were found at two sites.


Common and pygmy shrews were recorded at five sites, with 38 in total, while field vole were found only at Tentelow Wood, Southall, where 19 were recorded.


The survey results suggest that, for a small mammal, a wood with a richly-vegetated and somewhat untidy structure, with open sunlit glades, plentiful fruit and nut-producing trees, along with plenty of leaf litter and fallen branches and tree stumps, is close to a perfect home.


Of the sites surveyed Tentelow Wood and Long Wood, managed by Ealing Council, and Pear Wood, managed by Harrow, were judged most habitable for small mammals.


The nine surveyed woodland sites were Gunnersbury Triangle in Chiswick, Perivale Wood, Tentelow Wood and Long Wood near Southall, Ten Acre Wood and Gutteridge Wood in Hillingdon, Denham Lock Wood, near Uxbridge, Ruislip Woods, and Pear Wood in Stanmore.