Charity Awards 2024

People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Creating safe routes for hedgehogs

The Hedgehog Street campaign, run for 13 years by People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), raises awareness of hedgehog decline in the UK and engages the public in helping them survive and thrive in their gardens and neighbourhoods.

Hedgehog Highway

Credit Hugh Warwick

In 2011, the first State of Britain’s Hedgehogs (SBH) report highlighted a widespread loss of hedgehogs over the previous 10 years. Gardens and green spaces have become too tidy for them, paved over for parking, or enclosed within impenetrable fences and walls.

The plan for the Hedgehog Street campaign was to recruit volunteers who would rally support from their neighbours and work together to create ideal hedgehog habitat. However, the overarching aim was to address the problem of access to gardens, parks and other urban green areas. The simple but obvious solution was to create hedgehog highways.

PTES and BHPS designed bespoke guidance so that hedgehog champions could encourage neighbours to make small holes in walls and fences, allowing hedgehogs to pass through. Over 126,000 people have now signed up to be champions, and a study has revealed they have created 1.69 highways each, on average.

Another important element of the campaign is the interactive BIG Hedgehog Map recording sightings of both live and dead hedgehogs submitted by the public. These records have improved understanding of hedgehog distribution across the UK and how it changes over time. The map also allows the public to submit the location of their hedgehog highways, and highlight local records, so that community projects can focus conservation efforts. To date, the map shows over 150,000 hedgehog sightings and over 20,000 hedgehog highways.

As a result of all of these activities, the 2022 SBH report showed that the rate of decline of hedgehogs in urban areas is slowing significantly and may even be reversing.

Charity Awards judge Karin Woodley, CEO of Cambridge House, said: “The domestic nature and call to street-level community action and partnership is lovely.”

Julie Wilson Dodd, transformation consultant, said it was a “good partnership of two charities that seems to be healthy and productive – the partnership and campaign have been running for years”.

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