After years of monitoring dormice, I have now had a taste of what it’s like to sleep in a dormouse nest. Last week we went camping, and stayed in a remarkable tent, suspended from oak trees.
The tent was made of a spherical wood and aluminium frame, covered in canvas. The design was inspired by harvest mouse nests, but I prefer to think of it as a dormouse nest, since dormice live in trees.
It was an exciting experience. The tent had two windows, looking into the branches. Every so often we could feel the tent move gently, like being in a boat.
It was also a comfortable experience, as it comes with proper beds and a tiny woodburner.
The campsite itself is a wildlife haven. The pitches are mown areas of grass in a meadow. There’s a pond, and the site is surrounded by woods. The owners are keen to keep it wildlife friendly. Later this month they are hosting a wildlife weekend with Sussex Wildlife Trust.
We didn’t have any dormice visit us during our stay, but it was lovely watching (and listening to) the common pipistrelle bats as we sat by the campfire after dark. We also saw three deer at dusk, crossing into the woods. And there are plenty of bunny rabbits, birds and bugs around.
Have you come across any particularly wildlife friendly campsites you would recommend?