Hedgehogs are a gardener’s best friend. They eat slugs and insects that feed on plants, reducing the need for artificial control. Sadly, our hedgehog population is rapidly declining because of a rise in the number of fences and walls surrounding our parks and gardens, preventing our hedgehogs from moving freely.
However, we can act now to help protect our hedgehog population and increase numbers. Each hedgehog travels around one mile every night through our parks and gardens. Creating a ‘hedgehog hole’ – a simple CD-sized hole in a fence or wall, will allow hedgehogs to safely pass on their daily quest to find enough food and a mate. You can even pledge to make a hole and record your hole on the Big Hedgehog Map. Connecting our gardens and outdoor spaces will provide the necessary pathways our hedgehogs need to survive.
The very first ‘hedgehog highway’ originated in Oxfordshire in 2016. The villagers of Kirtlington volunteered to connect their 60 gardens by cutting a small 13cm squared hole in their fences and walls, to allow hedgehogs to safely pass through. Kirtlington still has one of the most creative routes on the hedgehog highway map, boasting miniature ramps, staircases, and quirky signs.
Why not take it one step further and swap your fence or wall for a hedge? Hedges provide shelter, food, and a route in and out of outdoor spaces, and attract other wildlife such as birds and bees.
Other tips to help hedgehogs along their way:
Check grassed areas before cutting grass, cover drains, avoid pesticides, and make sure there is an easy way out of ponds for hedgehogs. Hedgehogs love compost heaps and log piles, they offer shelter and natural food, but do check before moving logs and compost with forks and other equipment.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society is a great source of information on Britain’s only spiny mammal. Sharing food tips and ideas on feeding stations, and creating a hedgehog haven in our outdoor spaces, while offering support and advice for poorly, injured, and orphaned hedgehogs. The society aims to gain support for hedgehogs in parliament and is currently running a petition to make hedgehog highways compulsory in all new build developments.
Farm Tech Supplies has an array of equipment to help make your garden, estate or smallholding hedgehog friendly with log splitters for log piles and hedge cutters to maintain hedges. Get in touch with our friendly sales team.