Rugby homebuilder creates 'hedgehog highways' in fences to try to halt sharp decline in population

Hedgehog numbers have been shrinking across the country for decades

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 1:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 1:10 pm
Submitted photo.

A network of hedgehog highways will be built throughout the gardens of Houlton’s new contemporary sustainable homes in a bid to help prevent the ongoing decline in their population.

The latest housebuilder to join the growing Rugby neighbourhood, Civic Living, will include passing points in garden fences to hedgehogs and other wildlife to move freely across the site on their quest to find food as part of the nationwide “Hedgehog Street” scheme.

It comes as the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs report revealed hedgehogs have faced a rapid decline in recent years, with 50 per cent of rural hedgehog populations and 30 per cent of urban hedgehog populations lost since 2000.

The initiative, launched by wildlife charities People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), aims to encourage the nation to make gardens more hedgehog friendly to help protect Britain’s much-loved species.

Galina Bardarska, Urban&Civic at Houlton, said: “We are delighted that the newest homes here at Houlton will feature hedgehog highways.

"Protecting and creating the diverse ecology and wildlife on site is one of our key priorities, and this small but significant feature of Civic Living gardens will enable this endangered species to thrive and flourish.

“As well as hedgehog highways, we are home to acres of outdoor space, habitats, ecology corridors, wildflower and mature trees, and we hope that the new network of hedgehog highways will further enhance the vibrant wildlife at Houlton.”

In addition to the “Hedgehog Street” scheme, PTES and BHPS have also launched a series of top tips for homeowners to encourage people to become “Hedgehog Champions,” including creating a wild corner in gardens, leaving out suitable food and water, and checking habitats before cutting the lawn.

Grace Johnson, hedgehog officer for Hedgehog Street added: “We know how much people love hedgehogs, but also how much they’re in trouble. Gardens are a fantastic habitat for hedgehogs if they have the right features and are connected to neighbouring gardens and/or green spaces.

“Hedgehog highways like the network at Houlton and our Hedgehog Champions challenge will significantly help protect population numbers in the UK.

"We already have over 90,000 amazing Hedgehog Champions who have made their gardens hedgehog friendly, and hope in our birthday year we can make that 100,000."

Homeowners who would like to become a Hedgehog Champion can find out more at www.hedgehogstreet.org/happy-birthday-to-us