Helping hedgehogs to survive and grow their population against the challenge of habitat loss

Finding a home can be a very hard task for hedgehogs these day and sadly we see their numbers declining dramatically. Loss of woodland, removal of hedges and the enlarging of fields for intense agriculture has been a major contributor to this in the UK. 

With threats coming in from all angles, such as road traffic, pesticide chemical accumulation and being disturbed during hiberation, hedgehogs face ever growing challenges in this country. The impetus to have 'neat and tidy' gardens and fields farmed right up to their edges for instance, means hedgehogs have less suitable habitat to forage, nest and hibernate, as well as connectivity so they can move around easily. 

The hedgehog population in England, Scotland and Wales has dropped at an alarming rate since the 1950s, from around 30 million to now only about 1 million. As their name suggests, hedges are important for hedgehog's survival, because they provide shelter from their main predator, badgers. The quality of a hedge matters. When there are large gaps and the trees resemble a mushroom shape, ground-dwelling hedgehogs are left vulnerable.

Hedge laying moves branches low to the ground and encourage the hedge to grow back more densely. This winter, volunteers have carried out this traditional management technique at Turnastone Court Farm, and on many other CRT farms, to enhance hedgerows for the hedgehogs and other wildlife.

Handmade hedgehog homes on our CRT farms

By setting up hedgehog homes on our farms, we can provide safe refuge areas for hedgehogs to escape the ongoing dangers they face every day. Improving habitats on farmland through restoration and creation is crucial to their survival, along with many other small mammals in Britain, but this will take time. Therefore setting up homes in suitable areas of farmland, such as near barns, rough habitat or tucked away in hedges or woodland edges, we can provide hedgehogs with hibernating opportunities so they can survive through the winter. 

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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