Hazel dormice are widespread in Europe from the Mediterranean to southern Sweden, East to Russia and west to southern France. Island populations occur in Great Britain, Corfu and Sicily.
In Britain the native range of the dormouse extends throughout England and Wales. The species is generally more common in the south than in the north but even where the population is greater the distribution can be patchy. In the 21st century the dormouse has become extinct from many of the northern and midland counties over the past one hundred years and the species is now mainly confined to the southern counties of Britain, the English/Welsh borders and east and south Wales. There has been an ongoing effort to reintroduce dormice to those areas where the species has become extinct.
In 1885, G.T Rope published an article in The Zoologist ‘On the range of the dormouse in England and Wales’ (Vol 9 No. 102 pages 201-213). This showed that dormice were considered ‘common’ in many of the southern counties (shaded red) and known localities were recorded in many of midland and northern counties and Wales (shaded pink with locations shown as yellow dots) . This general dormouse distribution in the early 1900′s was supported by Victoria County Histories (1907) and other naturalists.
Ecological studies were undertaken on dormice during the 1980′s by Pat Morris and Paul Bright but their national distribution at that time was unknown. In 1993 a public survey was organised to find and identify hazelnuts eaten by dormice. This survey was repeated in 2001. The results, shown in the map below (yellow and orange dots are positive records, blue dots are negative records) demonstrated that in less than 100 years dormice had been lost from many counties and were predominantly concentrated in southern England and the borders.
A recent distribution map, using data from the Great Nut Hunts, sites from the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme, Dormouse Reintroduction Sites and other survey data is shown below. If you have any positive, recent records please let us know by submitting your dormouse records to us, these data will then be shared with the Local Records Centre.
The Hampshire Dormouse Group monitor the distribution of dormice in Hampshire. Please follow the links for a description of dormice distribution in Hampshire, as well as maps of dormice distribution in Hampshire.
Browne M (1885), Vertebrate animals of Leicestershire, The Zoologist 9
Coward T.A (1910), The Vertebrate fauna of Cheshire and Liverpool, Witherby and Co. London
Forrest H.E. (1907), Fauna of North Wales, Witherby and Co. London
Morris D (1914), A Natural History of Bournemouth and District, Natural Science Society
Rope G.T (1885), On the range of the dormouse in England and Wales, The Zoologist 9 102:201-213
Victoria County Histories 1907