FAMILIES in the Frome Valley are being asked to become hedgehog heroes – and make an extra effort to help the garden visitors.
It’s the time of year when hedgehogs are finding places to hibernate – and as ever residents are being asked to keep an eye out.
Nature lovers regularly spot hedgehogs around the village – but there are concerns for their numbers, which have been in decline.
A report by the British Hedgehog Preservation society last year found the population had fallen by a third since 2000.
Urban populations are stable and showing signs of recovery, but in rural areas they are on the slide, with some areas seeing their populations fall by three-quarters since the Millennium.
Frampton Cotterell Parish Council’s climate and nature officer, Daisy Finniear, has helped set up a Hedgehog Heroes group for Frampton and Westerleigh.
Daisy said: “Frampton and Westerleigh’s joint hedgehog group was started as part of South Glos Council’s Hedgehog Heroes Project.
“This is a project with the aim to install 3,000 hedgehog holes across South Gloucestershire, enhance hedgehog habitats and raise awareness on threats to hedgehogs.
“The group is encouraging all of you to add your hedgehog holes and hedgehog sightings to the Big Hedgehog Map to help save our hogs.”
The map can be found at bighedgehogmap.org.
The group held an event in October at the Brockeridge Centre, including a nature art competition, hedgehog crafts, information and a hedgehog bake off cake competition.
Creating a hedgehog-friendly garden
Lesley Johnson, chair of the hedgehog working group, said the aim is to help hedgehogs thrive in our neighbourhoods by keeping them healthy and creating safe spaces for them to live.
She said: “Engaging with local residents on how to make gardens hedgehog and nature-friendly, along with the creation of ‘hedgehog highways’, are our key priorities.”
Hedgehog highways are created by people making small holes in garden fences or walls so hedgehogs can pass through.
The animals often travel around a mile every night and a 13cm wide square or circular hole, around the size of a CD, is big enough to allow then through but stop most pets from escaping.
Lesley said: “It is also important we engage with others to ensure that our open spaces are managed for nature.
“Our ‘gardening for nature checklist’ provides a list of simple things that everyone could do to increase biodiversity in any open space, however small.
“If you’re passionate about hedgehogs, then please do get in touch to join the Hedgehog Heroes Group and volunteer with us.
“If, like me, you feel helpless about the destruction of wild spaces around our planet, surely helping nature thrive in our own gardens and communities is something positive we must all do!”
For more information about the Hedgehog Heroes group contact Daisy at email@example.com.