Wild About Gardens Week

Monday 26 October to Sunday 1 November 2015

Wild About Gardens Week, the annual celebration of garden wildlife hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society and The Wildlife Trusts, is teaming up with Hedgehog Street this year to highlight how gardeners can help our hedgehogs. This much-loved creature is declining in Britain as fast as the tiger.*

Hedgehogs are in trouble – they have declined by 30% in the last 10 years alone and there are now thought to be fewer than one million left in the UK. During Wild About Gardens Week Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is encouraging people right across the county to think about how hedgehog friendly their gardens, schools and community spaces are. To join in this celebration of garden wildlife, the Trust is asking residents:

Stephen Davis, Head of Conservation at the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said:  “There is much you can do to turn your garden in a mini nature reserve. To help hedgehogs leave hedgehog holes at the bottom of your garden fence, leave piles of leaves and logs as safe places to hibernate and especially at this time of year check and turn over bonfires before lighting”.

Bill Oddie, The Wildlife Trusts’ Vice President, says:  “I can honestly say that I have not come across a wild hedgehog anywhere – whether in the woods or countryside or garden or my garden – for something like three or four years.  That is really sad because, let’s face it, they’re one of these little creatures which everyone knows – Mrs Tiggywinkle.  It’s an animal that everybody loves.  Nobody’s frightened of them.  Hedgehogs do a fantastic job in your garden munching up worms in particular, the odd slug occasionally and, I dare say, they’ve been known to crunch open a few snails.  Basically the hedgehog is the gardener’s friend.  There’s no two ways about that.  But not just that they are a delightful addition to your garden fauna –the birds, the animals, the insects - the hedgehogs, they belong there.  We need them.  They should be part of it.   But if you are lucky enough to have them, you’ve got to make it possible for them to get in and to get out.  Think of it as the hedgehog door – to food, to adventure and the way back home.”

Hedgehog facts and figures:

  • Hedgehog numbers have fallen by 30% since 2002.
  • Today there are estimated to be fewer than 1 million hedgehogs left in the UK.
  • The main drivers of their decline are thought to be:
    • Declining hedgerow quality;
    • The over-management of parks and green space;
    • Loss of gardens to paving/decking;
    • Reduced insect prey from chemical use in gardens and on farmland;
    • Loss of grazing land;
    • The fragmentation of land by roads, fencing and increasing density of native predators.
  • Adult hedgehogs travel between 1-2 kilometres per night over home ranges between 10-30 hectares in size.
     

All information at: www.wildaboutgardensweek.org.uk

*Hedgehogs are currently declining in Britain at the same rate as tigers are around the world – about 5% a year.