Hedgehog Highways: Beginnings
Following the briliant NRN Tiny Talk by Chris and Steve Powles, creators of Kirtlington's Hedgehog Superhighway, which connects many gardens of the village by making holes in its fences and walls, they have challenged Eynsham to follow their lead. More importantly, they have generously donated £50 to pay for a stonemason to make the first hole through wall of stone. How can we say NO?
Breaking News from the Construction Site: A stonemason has been booked to make hedgehog tunnels through stone, brick and block walls. Please sign up here if you need his expertise.
Last Friday afternoon, Lucy Stoddart and Joe Bishop of Spareacre Road, Eynsham, cut a hole in the fence to their neighbour. That night their first hedgehog wandered through. They have laid the 'foundation stone' of in Eynsham's new Hedgehog Highway! Watch their video of HH using a segment of the highway.
We know that there are many residents around Eynsham who are sympathetic to the plight of hedgehogs so, on 21st March 2021 a small group of interested Nature Recovery Network (NRN) members held a Zoom meeting to discuss a plan to establish a “hedgehog highway” through residents’ gardens, by means of a network of access points to allow uninterrupted foraging for the ‘hedgehogs. If this could lead to avoiding road crossings, a major cause of hedgehog fatalities, so much the better.
Neil Bailey of Hazeldene, Eynsham and Don and Judy Reid of Dovehouse Close are leading Eynsham's hedgehog project. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get involved.
Don Reid writes about how he and Judy were inspired to make hedgehog boxes.
A year ago, at the start of the first lockdown in March 2020, I acquired an 8ft x 4ft sheet of 11mm marine plywood and started making boxes. I had no plans to follow but, using my scant woodworking knowledge, my suppressed artistic ability and a limited range of tools, I set to work.
I was inspired to this because a few evenings before we had a visit from a hedgehog. As we sat by the patio window and watched our visitor only two metres away in the fading light, he/she was suddenly aware of another ‘hog entering the garden by the same route – through a gap under our side gate which led onto the Dovehouse Close “meadow”. On both animals their hackles came up – which in a hedgehog’s case are all over – and they began warily circling and bristling at each other in a show of dominance. This went on without real aggression until it became too dark to see them as they gradually moved away from the window. But we were hooked.
Hence the boxes, intended to encourage a ‘hog to make a home in the shelter of our garden. We had suspected for a while that hedgehogs were visiting, as I had seen them on the meadow at night when walking the dog. The year before, we and our new neighbour, Phill Tait (who happily is also a wildlife buff) agreed to have our jaded dividing fence replaced, and it was decided early in our discussions to ensure a suitable hole for hedgehog access. Phill had also identified a hole through to his other neighbour, and also under his rear gate to the meadow.
Meanwhile, my boxes (I made three from my plywood sheet) have provided shelter for several ‘hogs. Buying a cheap trail camera so that we could watch a record of their activities throughout the night has added immeasurably to both our pleasure and our understanding of one of Britain’s iconic but threatened mammals.
If you would like to help hedgehogs you can do this in 5 ways:
- Let us know if you have a hole in your garden wall or fence so we can map connections.
- Make a hole about 13cm (5inches) in your wall or fence at ground level, or as close as possible.
- Recruit your neighbour to do the same thing next door. This way we can eventually create a map of extensive foraging routes for our hedgehogs.
- Let us know if you have seen a hedgehog recently; if so, where, when, what time.
- If you have a pond please ensure there is a shallow end or a platform : too many hedgehogs drown in garden ponds when they can’t climb out.
For more inspiration read this article: