CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

BBC’s Countryfile focuses on Surrey’s harvest mouse project

PUBLISHED: 08:25 06 October 2016 | UPDATED: 08:46 06 October 2016

The elusive creature enjoyed its moment in the limelight (Photo: SWT/Amy Lewis)

The elusive creature enjoyed its moment in the limelight (Photo: SWT/Amy Lewis)

Archant

The hunt was on for the elusive harvest mouse as the BBC’s Countryfile team descended on one of Surrey Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves near Godalming.

The Countryfile team battle the elements with Surrey Wildlife Trust on their hunt for the harvest mouseThe Countryfile team battle the elements with Surrey Wildlife Trust on their hunt for the harvest mouse

TV presenter Anita Rani and her camera crew braved torrential rain to join a hardy band of Trust volunteers, as they attempted to catch the little mice on Thundry Meadows, in Elstead.

The TV programme highlighted the Trust’s unique project to monitor harvest mouse populations across Surrey using DNA testing techniques, led by living landscapes manager Jim Jones.

“Anita was really enthusiastic to see which furry creatures we’d managed to trap,” says Jim. “It was such a dark, wet day, but gave us a great opportunity to shine a light on the science behind our harvest mouse project.”

The team surveys for the tiny mammals by undertaking nest searches and examining owl pellets for harvest mouse remains. They also set small mammal traps and collect hair samples from the harvest mice, which are sent to the University of Brighton for DNA testing.

“The results are used to create a genetic map, which shows whether harvest mice sites are inter-related. This tells us whether individuals are moving around across the landscape, using green corridors - they are a key indicator species for habitat connectivity,” adds Jim.

“This project is a great example of how much the Trust relies on our dedicated volunteers to help us carry out our vital work. They turned out in the rain before dawn – and not just because there was a chance they’d be on the telly!”

Harvest mouse numbers have fallen in the last 40 years because of loss of habitat and intensive farming methods. Surrey does have quite a healthy population, which is great news for this tiny rodent.

The mice are mostly nocturnal and found in dense long grass, reed beds, cornfields and brambles. Their tennis-ball sized grass nests can sometimes be spotted secured in reeds or long grass about knee height off the ground.

The Countryfile crew spent a couple of hours filming with the Trust in Elstead on the banks of the River Wey, which offers ideal habitat for harvest mice.

• Surrey Wildlife Trust write a monthly column in Surrey Life magazine. For more information on the charity, visit www.surreywildlifetrust.org

More from Surrey Life

10:51

Wrap up in your favourite coat and scarf, grab your sparklers and a warming drink, and enjoy one of these fantastic firework displays taking place in Surrey for bonfire night

Read more

Home to outstanding architecture, ambitious community projects and arts ventures that are putting these villages firmly on the map, East and West Horsley are among our county’s most desirable addresses

Read more
10:43

Chertsey’s best-kept secret, the Great Cockcrow Railway, steamed into a half-century this year

Read more

A taste of Korea has swept into the beautiful market town of Godalming as Bada sets out its stall with a tapas-style fusion of seafood, traditional dishes and spice

Read more
Yesterday, 16:06

With friendship as the central theme in Adele Parks’ new book, Zoe Richards met up with the bestselling author and her publisher, Kate Mills, to find out how these two Surrey dwellers have discovered a successful working relationship, and become firm friends too

Read more
Yesterday, 11:37

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend: art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Yesterday, 00:00

As the twilight falls, the magic begins… There’s something for everyone at Christmas at Kew – and we’re giving you the chance to win one of five family tickets for two adults and two children to the Preview Night of Christmas at Kew on Wednesday 21 November 2018

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

We round up 10 of the most beautiful photos of Surrey shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Good table manners have long been a source of national pride but in this modern age of social media are our longstanding traditions being left behind? Rebecca Younger visits the stately Beaverbrook estate for a lesson in British etiquette

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The spookiest time of the year is fast approaching! We pick some of the best events to celebrate Halloween in Surrey

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From well kept secrets, to chilled out locations, Redhill is a good spot for a bite to eat. We round up some of the best restaurants…

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

From October 11 to 14, the great and the good of professional golf will tee up at Walton Health Golf Club for the 2018 British Masters. We shine a spotlight on the club as it ends an extraordinary year

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Lily James’ cinematic education has been overseen by a host of Hollywood’s most recognisable names; now, as she nears her 30th birthday, the Esher-born actress is looking to step out of her co-stars’ limelight and enjoy her leading role at the forefront of future British generations in Tinseltown

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search