Urban hedgehog project launches in Gloucester and Cheltenham

Monday 30th April 2018

A garden hedgehog (C) Tom Marshall

Hedgehogs are the UK's favourite mammal according to a recent poll, but many people may be surprised to learn that gardens in towns and cities such as Cheltenham and Gloucester are vital for these endangered animals.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has launched a project to improve urban green spaces for hedgehogs and urgently needs to recruit 75 volunteers in Kingsway (Gloucester), and Swindon Village and Charlton Kings (Cheltenham). The volunteers will create Hedgehog Ways, neighbourhoods where hedgehogs can move safely between gardens. Volunteers will receive training from specialists at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and ongoing support.

“Thanks to information from local people, we know that a number of hedgehogs are already living in these areas. Hedgehogs have the potential to be safe and supported in these places, with the help of local people. Gardens can easily provide food and shelter for hedgehogs, and help them to move to other areas of safety,” says Jo Worthy-Jones, an urban wildlife specialist at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

Hedgehog fun days are being held in May and June with activities for families, and with the chance to find out more about Hedgehog Way. The events take place on Sunday 6 May at Swindon Village Park; Saturday 12 May at Beeches Park, Charlton Kings; and Sunday 3 June in Kingsway.

Hedgehog Way is supported by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Volunteers can spend as little or as much time as they can spare and will assess gardens and other green spaces to see how hedgehog friendly they are; start to make these places better for hedgehogs, and report sightings of hedgehogs.

Once a familiar and well-loved visitor to our gardens, hedgehog numbers have fallen significantly in the last few decades. It is estimated that there are 1.5 million hedgehogs in the UK, down from 36 million in the 1950s. According to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, losses in towns and cities appear to have slowed, and the number of hedgehogs found in urban gardens at night may be increasing.

To find out more about Hedgehog Way click here or email jo.worthy-jones@gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust is a charity which manages 60 nature reserves around the county, runs events and courses to help people get closer to local wildlife, and is involved with a number of projects which support communities and individuals to enjoy being outside.