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Hedgehogs in the ‘Award Winning Garden’ in Highfield belonging to Clive Marks and Mark Riley (referred to on page 5 of the HRA Spring Newsletter 2016) and the preservation of the hedgehog which is in great decline

In Autumn 2015, Clive Marks and Mark Riley won (and indeed retained) the Mayor’s Trophy for having the best wildlife garden in Southampton, according to judges of the Southampton in Bloom competition. The garden (49, Church Lane) is described on page 5 of the Spring 2016 HRA Newsletter which is due to be delivered throughout Highfield from 14 March 2016. Part of the article focused on the release of hedgehogs into the wild through their back garden, thanks to the work of everyone in Hilldown Road. Four inch holes were cut into the base of garden fences to allow the hedgehogs to get between the gardens. Thanks to a PIRD-activated camera on Clive and Mark’s back lawn, you can watch a compilation of videos featuring hedgehogs Tiggy and Fangio mainly, with a supporting cast of Patch, Blanche and Herb. This video is below:

Clive and Mark encouraged the hedgehogs to stay around by providing a ‘dining hall’ and a ‘dormitory’, but they prefer to sleep alone so now there are two other dormatories in other parts of the garden!

Preserving out hedgehog population, as Clive and Mark are doing, is really important as they are in great decline. In the past 15 years, hedgehog numbers have dropped by 50% in urban areas and 30% in rural areas; from 30 million in 1950 to under one million today. This decline is not fully understood but habitat loss and a lack of access are thought to be factors. Housing developers could be required to leave gaps in fences to allow hedgehogs to move freely between gardens under plans unveiled in Parliament recently. This means that developers will have to consider the impact of their plans on the hedgehog population, perhaps including gaps in fences to allow the animals to move between gardens without venturing out onto the roads. Hedgehogs travel up to one mile a night so it is really important to provide them with a route to roam!

A Parliamentary petition has been launched which if it reaches at least 100,000 signatures, will force Parliament to discuss the  matter again. The petition calls for hedgehogs to be given the same level of protection as red squirrels by adding them to Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. The petition can be accessed on:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/121264. Do please sign it!