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Hazel Dormouse

Who could resist this cute creature?

Somerset Series continues after delay for nature

There are all sorts of reasons why races are organised on certain dates but we think the breeding season of the Hazel Dormouse (pictured above) has to be a first! This minute mammal is the only living species in the genus Muscardinus avellanarius and is seriously endangered.

This is the only dormouse native to the British Isles and the sleepy creatures have a body length of just 6-9cm, and a tail of similar length, weighing in at no more than 40g just before they go into winter hibernation on the forest floor. 

And so it was that the annual Piddle Wood Plod 10K trail race – the ninth event in the 2022 Somerset Series – had to be postponed from 12th June to Sunday 17th July to allow our little furry friends to wake up, feed up and make more little furry friends!

Forestry Commission approval has now been granted and a Trail Running Association permit applied for so race organisers Hydro Harriers, whose members all work at the UK Hydrographic Office in Taunton, can put the finishing touches to their plans for this multi-terrain event.

Race HQ is at Thurlbear Primary School, near Taunton and the course is two laps through the adjacent Forestry Commission land that really is named Piddle Wood, in the Blackdown Hills AONB.

It's almost worth the entry fee just to enjoy course highlight names like Neroche Here Path, Lime Ridge, Happiness Hill and Witch Lodge. Nearby you will find Smokey Bottom, Great Boles and Badger Street – although Winter Well, Frost Street and Cold Road are to be avoided in the winter months!

This will be the fourth running of this event and the first since 2019 due to Covid. The last winners were Matthew Bowden (Minehead, 39:18) and Kirstie Booth (Taunton, 45:31). There were 204 finishers in 1:43:21 in 2019 and as far as we know no Hazel Dormice were harmed.

Entries will open soon for Piddle Wood Plod 10K and for the latest information visit the event's Facebook page here

Image courtesy Piddle Wood Plod 10K on Facebook

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