It is incredibly heart-breaking to think that, despite being the UKs favourite wild mammal, the hedgehog is now on the conservation Red List of endangered species.  

The UKs hedgehog population has declined by approximately two thirds since 1990, due mainly to the loss of much of their natural habitat hedges.  

Thousands of hedgerows have been removed or reduced to make way for intensive farm practices and housing developments.  

Not only do thinner and shorter hedges make it more difficult for hedgehogs to have somewhere safe to rest, but it becomes harder for hedgehogs to find food and navigate their own territory safely out of reach from their natural predators. 

Add to all these threats the one posed by fast-moving motor vehicles and it is clear we need to take urgent action to protect our spiky little friends. 

Our Twelve Gifts of Christmas Campaign

When we highlighted our plan to place new hedgehog shelters on our farms as part of our Twelve Gifts of Christmas fundraising campaign, many of you responded and consequently we have been able to buy all the necessary materials to build ten hedgehog shelters.  

Our wonderful team of volunteers at Bere Marsh Farm in Dorset have now managed to produce these shelters, which will shortly be installed at Awnells Farm and Turnastone Court Farm in Herefordshire. 

Conservation and mapping officer Ruth Moss said: “We are so pleased to be able to provide homes for hedgehogs at our properties in Herefordshire.  

The hedgehog houses will be placed in habitats where there is plenty of shade and nest-building material, such as under hedgerows or in rough grassland and scrub. They will give hedgehogs somewhere to shelter during the day, hibernate during the winter and raise their young away from the prying snouts of badgers and foxes.

Monitors dont need any special license for checking occupancy of the shelters. There is no telling how long it will take for hedgehogs to find the shelters; it could take a few weeks or it could take years depending on local hedgehog populations and whether there are plentiful foraging opportunities.  

In rural settings, hedgehogs can travel up to 3km in a single night, so we are optimistic they will stumble across one of our boxes quite quickly.  

Interestingly, according to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, hedgehogs use at least three nests in a single winter; sometimes they only move a couple of metres to a new nest, but they can also move about 500m to a new nest location.   

How you can help 

We can’t do it without you. If you want to help us protect local wildlife you can support the CRT in any number of ways, from joining as a CRT Friend to volunteering on one of our farms and attending our events. You can also sign-up to our monthly newsletter 'CRT News' for regular updates from our farms, straight to your inbox. 

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Published: May 2024