ACTION for Wildlife this week issued a big thank you to everyone who helped with a wildlife project to look for signs of dormice within Dartmoor National Park last winter.

As a result of people hunting the hedgerows and woods for clues, 21 valuable new records have been received, many around the Okehampton area, which has been revealed as something of a hotspot for the rare little creatures.

Sarah Mellor, Action for Wildlife assistant project officer, said: ?Having up to date information on species distribution is very important. It helps land managers and conservation organisations to make informed decisions about appropriate habitat management in a given area.?

Four enthusiastic primary schools also helped with the hunt, including those at Horrabridge, Shaugh Prior and Mary Tavy, in an effort to see if dormice were living in the west and south west area of the moor.

Although their searches did not reveal any new records of dormouse activity, they enjoyed hunting and finding out about some of the other creatures living in the area.

The records they submitted will be added to data held by Dartmoor National Park authority and shared with Devon Biodiversity Records Centre.

A further survey will be held in the autumn to see if dormice can be discovered living in this particular area of the moor.

Devon is regarded as a national stronghold for dormice, an internationally endangered species, and the mice have been identified as a key species in the Dartmoor Biodiversity Action Plan.

The plan was produced by the DNPA and outlines targets and actions necessary to protect and enhance the wildlife heritage of Dartmoor. Action for Wildlife helps people who live and work on Dartmoor to carry out practical action identified by the plan.