Secret life of the Long Mynd wildlife captured on camera

Camera traps placed across the Long Mynd have shared a fascinating insight into some of the more elusive wildlife that makes its home in the Shropshire Hills.

Badger captured on the Long Mynd
Badger captured on the Long Mynd

As part of the National Trust’s Stepping Stones Project, the motion-triggered cameras have been placed in various locations across the project area, including the Long Mynd, with the aim of finding out more about the area’s pine marten population.

The cameras switch to infra-red mode at night, meaning that they can be triggered by something moving in front of them at any time of day or night.

A team of trained volunteers are monitoring the cameras and reviewing the recorded clips.

A fox is another animal cameras picked up on the Long Mynd

While the pine martens have eluded the cameras for now, several other rarely seen species have been spotted, including woodcock, a tawny owl and a polecat.

There are no breeding woodcock in this area of Shropshire, so it is likely that this example is a winter visitor from Eastern Europe.

The cameras have also picked up some of the Long Mynd’s more common visitors, including foxes, badgers, grey squirrels, and of course sheep.

Charlie Bell, Project Officer for the Stepping Stones Project, said: “These camera traps give us a window into the secret life of the area’s wildlife, especially those animals which are active at night and rarely seen by people.

Tawny owl captured on the Long Mynd

"It’s so exciting downloading the camera footage and looking through it - you never know what might turn up in the next clip.

"Although we haven’t seen any pine martens yet, we know there is a population of them in the south of the county not too far away.

"If we do manage to capture footage of pine martens then we’ll learn more about how this beautiful animal is using the landscape.

A polecat spotted on the Long Mynd

"Our hope is that through this camera trap monitoring we’ll be able to identify new sites to put up den boxes and provide suitable places for our local pine martens to breed and raise their young.”

The Stepping Stones Project is funded by the Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The project was launched by the National Trust with its project partners Natural England, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, the AONB Partnership, local farmers and landowners, to create new habitats on land between and surrounding the Long Mynd and Stiperstones.

Its aim is to connect important areas of heathland, broadleaved woodland and flower-rich grassland by creating stepping stones of wildlife habitat within an area of 220km² of the AONB to ensure that species can move freely through the landscape via a network of corridors including hedgerows, hillsides, road verges, and streamside wetlands.

To learn more about the work of the Stepping Stones Project, or to get involved, contact Charlie at charlie.bell@nationaltrust.org.uk.

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