n 1977, a man called Nigel Reeve made
a remarkable discovery on a suburban
golf course in Middlesex – a discovery
that would profoundly change our
understanding of the hedgehog, that spiny
national treasure. For decades, people had
considered hedgehogs as parochial animals
with lives that were assumed to be limited to
the confines of one or two gardens. Through
radio-tracking wild hedgehogs, Reeve
discovered that they travel between 1 and
2km each night looking for food and mates,
passing through many gardens.
Hedgehogs are not very agile creatures and
cannot climb or dig; hence they frequently
encounter barriers in suburban landscapes.
We now understand that modern fencing
systems – especially larch lap fences with
concrete gravel boards – are a real problem for
them. There is a huge opportunity here for
the concrete industry to help in the fight to
save this iconic mammal.
The state of Britain’s hedgehogs
Until quite recently, very little was known
about the state of our hedgehog population,
principally because nobody was monitoringthem.We
now have long-running mammal
surveys that record hedgehogs in both rural
and urban areas, and these data sets tell a
sorry story. Since 2001, indices suggest that
perhaps a third of all urban hedgehogs have
been lost – that’s one in three hedgehogs
lost from towns and cities, where most
. The combination of pavement,
artificial grass and impermeable fences and
walls has forced hedgehogs out of gardens
where they were once abundant.
Highways for hedgehogs
Hedgehog Street was set up in 2011 and is
a joint campaign between People’s Trust for
Endangered Species (PTES) and the British
Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS).
Hedgehog Street has pioneered the
How concrete is key to saving our
declining British hedgehogs
Baby hedgehogs are called hoglets.
(Photo:Dave Cooper/Hedgehog Street.)
The concrete industry can help in the fight to protect and save one of