Hedgehogs are a priority species in the Dedham Vale Nature Recovery Plan.
To try and stop further decline in the Dedham Vale National Landscape, a grant was secured from the Dedham Vale Sustainable Development Fund to work with residents in East Bergholt, birthplace of painter John Constable, to create a pilot Hedgehog Friendly Village project.
What was done
The National Landscape team worked with the East Bergholt futures group to promote the work of the project. There were many Facebook posts and articles written in the local parish magazine.
A Hedgehog Friendly Village postcard was delivered by volunteers to every house in the village encouraging residents to help create a hedgehog superhighway by making holes (13cm by 13cm) in their garden fences /walls.
Hedgehogs travel around one mile every night in their quest to find enough food and a mate so need linked-up gardens to survive.
The postcard also listed top tips for hedgehog-friendly gardening, a topic which was promoted at 7 community events such as the East Bergholt Open Gardens, Flatford Nature Days and a hedgehog talk and tour around hedgehog friendly gardens.
To connect the village to the wider countryside and other parts of the village, volunteers surveyed local footpaths and identified places where hedgerows could be planted and restored. Linking up habitats like this will hopefully help hedgehogs avoid roads.
We have also received funding from DEFRA for more hedgehog boxes/highway signs to be distributed to suitable gardens in the National Landscape.
After the success of the Hedgehog Friendly Village pilot in East Bergholt we look forward to expanding this project to other villages in the Dedham Vale to help create greater garden connectivity and wildlife gardens across the National Landscape.
Courtesy of Dedham Vale National Landscape
- 25 hedgehog homes were built by the Stour Valley volunteers to go into suitable gardens in the village and one hedgehog champion starred in a video promoting hedgehog friendly gardening, which you can view here.
- A hedgehog champion was on hand to help create holes and footprint tunnels/wildlife cameras were loaned out so villagers could check to see if these nocturnal mammals were visiting their gardens at night.
- To see where hedgehog highways were being created villagers were encouraged to record their sightings and hedgehog holes on the Hedgehog Street website’s ‘Big Hedgehog map’.
- The East Bergholt Futures Group, made up of local residents, took over the project with support from the National Landscapes team, and for their fantastic efforts in engaging the local community, they were named winners of the 2023 Robert Erith National Landscape award.