Hedgehog friendly fencing campaign

(above: credit Christopher Morgan).

A new ‘Hedgehog Friendly Fencing‘ campaign has been launched in a bid to make garden fencing with ready-made ‘Hedgehog Highways’ as industry standard.

Hedgehog Street, a nationwide campaign by charities People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) is behind the new movement. It aims to give native hedgehogs – listed as vulnerable to extinction on the Red List for Britain’s Mammals 2020 – better access to neighbouring gardens and green spaces, which is vital for the species’ long-term survival.

Habitat fragmentation is one of the main issues affecting Britain’s hedgehogs, but 13cm square gaps in fences can help combat this prickly problem.

Members of the public are being urged to write to local national fencing companies using free template letters provided by Hedgehog Street, requesting hedgehog friendly fencing options in their product ranges. This includes pre-made Hedgehog Highways in fences or gravel boards. Companies who agree will be showcased on Hedgehog Street’s website, celebrating those who have pledged to help Britain’s favourite mammal.

Grace Johnson, hedgehog officer for Hedgehog Street explains: “Hedgehog numbers have plummeted in recent years, with losses of up to 75% in parts of the countryside. Hedgehogs can travel 2km in a single night, and fences prevent hedgehogs from accessing different gardens looking for food, shelter and potential mates, which is essential for their survival. Making a Hedgehog Highway is an incredibly simple yet effective solution, especially if manufacturers and suppliers offered ready-made products as standard, and made customers and installers aware of them.”

Grace hopes that the nation will join them in their fight to save our native hedgehogs. She points out that it takes time to develop new products, but if a company pledged their support at this stage, it would be a huge step forward for hedgehog conservation.

Some fencing manufacturers are already helping hedgehogs but much more is needed. Earlier this summer leading builders merchant Selco Builders Warehouse introduced their ‘Supreme Pro Hedgehog Hole Gravel Boards’ each with a pre-fitted Hedgehog Highway. Jacksons Fencing and Birkdale are also on board and it is hoped other manufacturers will follow suit and pledge to make and sell similar products.(left an example of a pre-made Hedgehog Highway in a garden fence, credit Jacksons Fencing).

There are lots of ways you can help hedgehogs in our gardens. Leave an area of your garden wild and undisturbed; encourage natural insect food with log piles, leaf piles and compost heaps; leave out shallow dishes of water; check for hedgehogs before strimming/mowing and stop using chemicals. You could even consider replacing one or more of your fences with a hedge – the ultimate hedgehog friendly garden boundary.

To take part and access the template letters visit: www.hedgehogstreet.org/hedgehog-friendly-fencing

To join the Hedgehog Friendly Fencing campaign and for free advice and tips on how to help hedgehogs visit: www.hedgehogstreet.org/hedgehog-friendly-fencing