This intermediate course will cover hazel dormouse ecology, survey techniques and appropriate habitat management, suitable for anyone with a professional or personal interest in the species

The hazel or common dormouse has undergone a significant decline during the last century. Their conservation depends on accurate data from surveys and sympathetic habitat management.

During this course, we will learn about the highly elusive Hazel dormouse. This species is fully protected under UK and European law and can be difficult to detect. This course will demonstrate how and where to survey for dormice and the methods used. Be inspired and engaged by the expertise of our specialist tutor and enjoy being surrounded by like-minded individuals who share your interests.

You will spend your course amidst the quintessentially English countryside of the Dedham Vale in Suffolk situated on the banks of the River Stour.

This course is for anyone who has a strong interest in this UK protected species, but the course is particularly relevant for professional ecologists and land managers.

Who Should Attend?

Nature enthusiasts, Students, Early career ecologists, Citizen scientists, Volunteer surveyors, Land managers

Knowledge Level

Intermediate. Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge

Knowledge of UK mammals would be beneficial, though those with previous experience would still benefit as the tutor is open to answering a range of questions at different levels.

What will be covered during this course?

    • The ecology of dormice and the reasons for their scarcity.
    • A variety of survey techniques including recognising nibbled hazelnuts and dormouse nests, deploying footprint tunnels and nest tubes.
    • Habitat management and conservation strategies for dormice.
    • Monitoring dormice using nest boxes (please note that whilst we hope to see some up close this is not guaranteed and there will not be an opportunity for participants to handle any animals).

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

    • Describe dormouse ecology
    • Identify a range of dormouse field signs
    • Understand how and where to place survey equipment in the field to optimise the chances of detecting dormice using various techniques
    • Explain relevant habitat management in the presence of dormice
    • Share this knowledge with friends, family, and fellow volunteers

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our fantastic tutor will combine the use of classroom-led learning and outside learning opportunities to give individuals the skills and confidence to progress their learning.

    • See the ‘Example Timetable’ and ‘What’s Included’ sections below for more information about this course.
    • Upon booking you will need to provide individual details of all attendees
    • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses.

    • Discounted rates
    • Privately run courses for your group
    • Bespoke courses developed specifically for your needs

Click here to find out more!

If we are unable reach viable numbers for this course, we will inform you of the course cancellation 14 days prior to the course run. We would recommend when purchasing accommodation and/or travel you should take out your own insurance.

Tutor: Alison Looser

Alison Looser is an experienced Ecologist, who also works for Suffolk Wildlife Trust. She has been undertaking dormouse surveys for the last eight years and is an experienced licensed dormouse surveyor and handler.

Tutor: Simone Bullion

Simone Bullion is a Conservation Manager for Suffolk Wildlife Trust. She has been running training courses and coordinating mammal surveys for over 20 years. She has held a Natural England dormouse licence for 17 years, which enables her to check nest boxes and tubes specially designed for dormice.


The course fee is for tuition only.  If you would like to, book accommodation here  Please note rates are Room Only.  The centre will contact you direct after they receive your booking to confirm.  You can then liaise with them regarding any meals you may require, which will be at an additional charge.

Book with Confidence

We understand the difficulties of making plans in the current situation when guidelines continue to change, and insurance conditions are being tightened. In response, we will continue to offer additional flexibility. Find out more here

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

This timetable is subject to change but should give a clear outline of what to expect

      • Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly at 10:00am
      • The course will end at 5:00pm

Day 1

10:00am Introductions
10:30am Classroom session covering:

  • Introduction to species
  • Legislation
11:30am Break and prepare for field session – refreshments not provided 
11:45am Visit to an ancient woodland
1:00pm Lunch – Not included
2:00pm Continued field time
3:00pm Break – refreshments not provided 
3:15pm Setting up nest tubes and footprint tunnels
4:30pm Classroom plenary and final questions
5:00pm End of day 1

Please note accommodation and an evening meal is not included

Day 2

10:00am Recap of day 1
10:30am Check footprint tunnels and nest tubes
11:30am Break and prepare for field session – refreshments not provided 
11:45am Visit to a scrubland
1:00pm Lunch – Not included
2:00pm Visit to hedgerows
3:30pm Break – refreshments not provided 
4:00pm Classroom plenary and final questions
5:00pm Finish

What's Included

The course has been carefully created by expert tutors and educators to help you continue to build and develop your knowledge and apply it within the field surrounded by like-minded individuals.

The course includes:

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the species
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be provided. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.

Before You Attend

What to Bring:

    • Notebook and pencil
    • Camera to capture images
    • Lunch and refreshments
    • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical or access requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.

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