Hedgehog Highways Project progress

It as been such a busy few weeks – here are just 4 of the events that have taken place recently :

It has been a pleasure to meet so many people keen on helping wildlife in their gardens and keen to do whatever it takes to help more hedgehogs survive in our town.

The lovely residents of Pearce Court Retirement Housing were enthusiastic about hedgehogs before we arrived. We had already delivered 2 hedgehog houses in anticipation of finding suitable spots for them in the gardens of the estate. We met the residents in their communal lounge where one of the residents was showing off her plant pot bug larder and water bowls suitable for hedgehogs. We set up our presentation and delivered training on how to care for hedgehogs in gardens. We answered lots of questions and we hope we’ve left the residents with a bit more knowledge than before. Then we went out into the gardens and sited two volunteer made recycled wood hedgehog houses – made by the Hedgehog Highways Project – along with a simple bamboo cane bug hotel made by one of our team 12 year old Sophie.

A few days before I visited a small garden on Lea Park That’s my bike in the photo giving an indication of the size of the garden. I was there to do a garden assessment. I was expecting a lot less. I was blown away by the thought that had gone into this garden – thought that means that it is an oasis in the middle of a concrete expanse of housing and garages. The garden fence is raised off the ground high enough for a hog to visit – and they do – there was evidence ! The hog has to go down 3 shallow steps to reach the garden and has to leave the same way – so they can certainly climb a little. The garden is a utopia for insects with plenty of flowering plants chosen for their attractiveness to bees and birds. There is a tall bird feeder with a choice of seeds for different species. The buddleia in the middle was in full bloom and was attracting the bees while were were there. My assessment was that the hedgehogs had everything they needed apart from shelter. We discussed whether a log pile could be created but the size of the garden would make this difficult so we decided on a hedgehog house – and there was a perfect place for it under a bush. We also talked about other piles of leaflitter, bug hotels and maybe some more bird boxes.

Anne and I had the pleasure of visiting John Hampden Primary School last week too. The wonderful Year 1 teachers have been teaching the children all about hedgehogs and hedgehog care. We were invited to their assembly where the children gave a presentation on hedgehogs to their parents. There must have been well over 100 parents there. The children had researched all aspects of hedgehog life and recited different important facts. We had the opportunity to present our hedgehog highways project and to give out our leaflets. We are very much hoping that the children will help their parents stop cutting the lawn so much and give more space to wildlife in their own back yards.

One of our hedgehog highways project team have been working hard in their own garden to create an environment that helps hedgehogs and other wildlife.

Here Ruth has provided a shallow dish to ensure that hedgehogs can safely drink.

Wildlife friendly gardens can be tidy gardens – but really the wildlife likes a bit of messy. So why not leave an area of your garden to go wild – maybe put a sign up for any neighbours who frown upon it – to educate them that it’s important.

Thanks to B P Collins for their wonderful sponsorship of this project 2023.