Hedgehog Highway Petition

Hedgehog Highway Petition
– faster than Sonic!

A petition on change.org calling on Housing and Planning Minister Kit Malthouse to make the integration of hedgehog highways compulsory in all new build housing developments has taken everyone by surprise. In just two weeks over 300,000 people have signed!

Why has this taken the public by storm? The hedgehog is the nation’s favourite animal – every poll tells the same story. Yet the hedgehog is suffering from a dramatic population decline. The latest State of Britain’s Hedgehogs report from the Hedgehog Street Campaign shows how in just the last 18 years urban hedgehog numbers are down by 30% and rural hedgehogs down by 50%.

Hugh Warwick, Ecologist, Author and Communications Officer for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) started the petition “We know that hedgehog numbers are declining,” he said, “and we know that one of the biggest problems they face is the way we chop our land up into smaller pieces. This often happens when new fences are put in place – and as we are facing a house building boom there are going to be hundreds of thousands of new barriers to hedgehog movement.”

Photo Credit – Zoe Broughton

Perhaps surprisingly, new housing can help hedgehogs, if it is done with wildlife in mind. The petition is calling on Kit Malthouse to do just that – make sure all new fences have hedgehog holes built into them. Just a 13cm square, these holes help hedgehogs move the considerable distances we know they can travel each night – over a mile is not uncommon.

Hugh continues “Couple this with wildlife sensitive planting, ponds, and bat and swift bricks, new housing estates can offer homes for hedgehogs and other wildlife as well as for people.”

Fay Vass, Chief Executive of BHPS adds “This petition is aimed at making new build sites better for hedgehogs, but improvements can also easily be made in existing homes too!  Hedgehog Street is a project we run with People’s Trust for Endangered Species and its website offers a wealth of information and advice for homeowners wanting to help our prickly friends, you can even sign up to be a Hedgehog Champion!”

Our Award Winning Hedgehog Close Film

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) is delighted to have scooped prestigious accolades at the Charity Film Awards held in London on 11th May.  Their Hedgehog Close film held off fierce competition to be placed silver in their category and honoured with the overall People’s Choice Award. 


Hedgehog Close was created to spread the word about how to help hedgehogs and make people aware of their plight. Voiced by Gordon Buchanan and created by Zest Productions, the ‘Aardman-esque’ film has been widely shared on social media and viewed by well over a million people to date.


Fay Vass, Chief Executive of BHPS said “We were so pleased to have won a silver award, you could have knocked us down with a feather when our little charity was called up to the stage to collect the major People’s Choice Award!  There were so many wonderful Charities and causes represented on the evening, many far larger organisations than us, so we were especially grateful to have received the most votes from our fantastic supporters.”


Simon Burton, Co-Founder of the Awards praised BHPS saying “The Charity Film Awards is all about films that change behaviour. Hedgehog Close does an incredible job of motivating that change. I don’t know a single person who’s seen the film who hasn’t told me that they’ve cut a hole in their fence to make a hedgehog highway. A brilliant film.”


Film Director, Tom Hooker added “When we first began moulding plasticine hedgehogs and building cardboard houses we never imagined the film would be so widely seen and successful. It was fantastic to be recognised amongst so many other brilliant charities.”


Fay says the awards were even more special being collected at the end of a very busy Hedgehog Awareness Week organised by the Charity each year.  “Being presented with the awards, by our lovely Patron David Domoney, was the icing on the #hedgehogweek cake!”


The Charity hope this will boost the popularity of the film even more resulting in more people finding out all about our humble hedgehog.  Hedgehog Close can be viewed below.


Hedgehog Awareness Week runs from 6th – 12th May 2018.

Please pledge to do at least one extra thing to raise awareness of the hedgehogs’ plight during Hedgehog Awareness Week.

You might contact your local council or Tool Hire Company and ask them to use our free Strimmer stickers on their machines
(see https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/hedgehog-heroes-roll-honour/)

You might organise an event such as a coffee morning, cake sale, jumble sale, sponsored event or fun day.

You could text HHOG18 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to BHPS. (You can change amount to £1, £2, £3, £4, or £10 donate those amounts). You can also find our JustGiving Appeal page at https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/bhps/haw18… and if you are holding and event or doing a sponsored something you can link in with us there.

You could display information in your local library, school or garden centre, etc.

You could contact your local newspaper or radio station asking them to help hedgehogs by printing a letter from BHPS (we can provide a letter to the editor on request) or organising an interview with us during this week.

You could post leaflets in your area letting people know how to help hedgehogs in their gardens.

We can provide leaflets and posters, just email us – info@britishhedgehogs.org.uk or download from our website www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk

If you are organising an event or display, please let us know so that we can keep a list of events all across the country.

Please do at least one thing during this week to help hedgehogs 😃

To download a copy of the HAW 2018 poster please click here

Thank you.

The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018

Today our Hedgehog Street project launched the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018 report. Hedgehog Street is a partnership between the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species.

Vote for “Hedgehog Close” in the 2018 Charity Film Awards!

Please vote for “Hedgehog Close” in the 2018 Charity Film Awards!

We are thrilled to announce that our charming short film has been nominated, but now we really need your help as we enter the public vote stage!

Please vote for us here: https://www.charityfilmawards.com/videos/hedgehog-close

The two minute film was released on social media during ‘Hedgehog Week’ and swiftly shared by BBC Springwatch as well as a host of other major charities and organisations. To date, the film has gathered well in excess of 600,000 views on Facebook as well as a huge amount of positive audience interaction and shares.
The aim throughout was to create something engaging and charming but with a strong message embedded. Achieving the right tone was crucial, and the voiceover from BBC’s Gordon Buchanan was an important ingredient in setting the right mood and feel.
From the outset, we wanted the film to also engage a younger audience and we were delighted about how well it went down with children and parents alike. The film has been screened in a number of schools and is now being sent out within educational packs.
The film was also featured on The Daily Telegraph website and endorsed by the likes of Aardman Animations guru Peter Lord CBE.


BHPS - Please Check Bonfires

Please #rememberhedgehogs on Bonfire Night

BHPS - Please Check Bonfires

With bonfire night and Halloween fast approaching, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) is urging people to build bonfires on the day they are to be lit to save hedgehogs and other wildlife from appalling suffering.

This will not only save wildlife from burning to death but will also stop the bonfire from getting soaked should it rain the night before! Fay Vass, Chief Executive of BHPS, said “If material is stored on open ground in advance of having a bonfire, it’s crucial to dismantle it and move it to another spot just before lighting. Ensure it’s moved to clear ground – never on top of a pile of leaves as there could be a hedgehog underneath, and not too close to pampas grass which can ignite very easily and is another favourite spot for hedgehogs to hide under.”

If a large bonfire must be built in advance, protect it whilst building by putting some chicken wire, at least one-metre-high, all the way around the bottom. This should be held in place with stakes and the wire should slope outwards at an angle to make it difficult to climb, as hedgehogs are good climbers! In case you have missed anything light the fire from one side only and keep people away from the unlit side so that any hedgehogs can hopefully escape in peace.

If, whilst building, a bonfire is left unattended, for however short a time, it’s imperative to check for young children, hedgehogs and other animals, including family pets, before lighting. As hedgehogs tend to hide in the centre and bottom two feet of the bonfire, check by gently lifting the bonfire section by section with a pole or broom. Never use a spade or fork as these can stab them. Using a torch will help to see and listen for a hissing sound, as this is the noise they make when disturbed. Fay continues “If hedgehogs are found, take as much of the nest as you can and place them in a high-sided cardboard or plastic box with plenty of newspaper/old towelling. Ensure there are air holes in the lid and that the lid is secured firmly to the box, as hedgehogs are great climbers. Wear garden gloves so as not to get human smells on them and to keep them calm as hedgehogs are easily stressed – also, it protects your hands from their spikes. Put the box in a safe quiet place such as a shed or garage well away from the festivities, offer specialist hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food and water. Once the bonfire is totally dampened down, release the hedgehog under a hedge, bush or behind a stack of logs.”

Going to an official organised fireworks display is a far safer option for both humans and animals!

Help raise awareness using our collection of downloadable posters:

BHPS - Please Check Bonfires

Response to Daily Mail advice on feeding hedgehogs

On 8th September 2017 the Daily Mail ran an article by Victoria Allen stating that experts are saying not to feed hedgehogs in autumn, see

We at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society would like to make it very clear that there is NO evidence to suggest this is the correct course of action and no new research has been carried out in this area. Our advice remains to offer hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food, cat biscuits and water for hedgehogs up until they hibernate. This food can literally be a lifesaver, helping them build the fat reserves they need for hibernation. We have made an official complaint to the Daily Mail.

Fay Vass, Chief Executive of BHPS said “I was alarmed to read this misleading article. There is no evidence to suggest this is the right course of action, I feed hedgehogs in my own garden and will continue to do so right up until the food is no longer taken. Providing supplementary food for hedgehogs at a time when it is critical for them to gain weight in preparation for hibernation is to be encouraged. Should future science prove robustly that this is not the correct thing to do then of course our advice would change, but there is no such evidence or indeed any such research being carried out.”

The article misrepresents comments made by Dr Dawn Scott of the University of Brighton who has issued the following statement:

Response to Daily Mail article:
"I would like to clarify that I did not state that hedgehogs should not be fed supplementary food in the Autumn in the run up to hibernation. I myself feed hedgehogs in the autumn to help them attain body weight before the winter and several animals may need this boost to obtain the body weight sufficient to survive hibernation. I would encourage people to feed hedgehogs in the autumn when they need to put body weight on, however I encourage wildlife friendly garden which would promote natural food supplies as opposed to a reliance on supplementary food.
In my recent talk at the British Science Festival I presented some data on my findings on impact of anthropogenic feeding on urban mammals this included foxes, badgers and hedgehogs. I mentioned my concerns over the emerging impact of anthropogenic food supplied by householders on animal behaviour and stated more research is needed. The point of the BSF is to stimulate discussion and debate hence I raised the point of ‘do we actually know the impacts of people feeding wildlife and it might not always be beneficial.’
As hedgehogs are in such decline we really do need to know the consequences of our actions in terms of long term affects and this urgently needs more research.
I said I was concerned that hedgehogs were noted as active throughout December and January last year and that although this is likely to be climate related that abundant food supply throughout winter in gardens could also be affecting hibernation timing. One of the ecological consequences of urban environments for animals is the potentially constant supply of food which could affect natural seasonal behaviour. Food reduction as well as temperature is a trigger for hibernating animals and so abundant food could potentially affect this trigger. Anthropogenic feeding and how it can disrupt hibernation patterns has been shown in some other species. E.g. impact of human feeding on bear hibernation http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/PressRelease/pressReleaseId-129940.html
I said I had no direct data on this, it was a point for discussion and raised as an area that needs to be researched in future. I linked this point with the emerging feeding habits of people towards other urban animals and said we need to look carefully at how, what and when we feed wildlife to maximise its benefit and reduce any potential detrimental affects. The title of the Daily Mail article is misleading of what I said in my talk. I do not support the statement of not feeding hedgehogs in Autumn."

Dr Dawn Scott
University of Brighton

Hedgehog Housing Census!

Do you have a hedgehog house in your garden?

Today, #HedgehogStreet has launched the first ever national hedgehog house survey, in partnership with the University of Reading and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

If you have a hedgehog house, take part in the survey today: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/housingcensus/ and help us find out more about these spikey visitors so we can better protect them.

Hedgehog Housing Census
Hedgehog Awareness Week 2017

Hedgehog Awareness Week 2017

Hedgehog Awareness Week 2017

Hedgehog Awareness Week runs from 30th April to 6th May 2017 and hedgehoggy events are being organised all around the country already!

Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and takes place every year.  It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them.

This year efforts are focussed on our strimmer campaign.  We have produced water proof stickers that we are sending to councils, tool hire companies, grounds maintenance teams, etc free of charge on request (email info@britishhedgehogs.org.uk).  The stickers remind operatives to check areas for hedgehogs before using any machinery.  Once the group have received the stickers and sent us a pic of them in action, we can add them to our Hedgehog Heroes Roll of Honour!  See https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/hedgehog-heroes-roll-honour/


Strimmer Label 

As well as checking areas before cutting there are other things we can do to help too:

  • Ensure there is hedgehog access in your garden – a 13cm x 13cm gap in boundary fences and walls.
  • Move piles of rubbish to a new site before burning it.
  • Ensure netting is kept at a safe height.
  • Check compost heaps before digging the fork in.
  • Stop or reduce the amount of pesticides and poisons used.
  • Cover drains or deep holes.
  • Ensure there is an easy route out of ponds and pools.


BHPS Chief Executive, Fay Vass, said “We are asking people to pledge to do at least one positive thing for hedgehogs during the week and if possible let us know, send us pictures of the hedgehog hole or home you create, or from the event you organise!”


Here are a few more ideas of how you can get involved:

  • Contact your local council or tool hire shop and ask if they will use the free stickers from BHPS on their machines – ask them to email us direct on info@britishhedgehogs.org.uk
  • Organise an event such as a cake sale, fun day, sponsored event, coffee morning or jumble sale.
  • ]Display information (BHPS can provide) in your work place or local Garden Centre, School, Library, shop, etc.
  • Contact your local newspaper or radio station a few weeks before Hedgehog Awareness Week and ask them to help hedgehogs by printing a letter from BHPS (we can provide a letter to the editor on request) or by arranging an interview with us during the week (ask them to call 01584 890 801 to book a slot).
  • Post leaflets in your area letting people know how they can help hedgehogs (BHPS can provide leaflets).
  • Take a selfie with our #hedgehogweek sign (click here for printable copy)  and send it out via social media during the week.  Remember to tag us on Twitter @hedgehogsociety and use #hedgehogweek

If you are organising an event, PLEASE let BHPS know as soon as possible so that we can keep a comprehensive list of events across the country. We often get calls from the media and public asking for local events and if we don’t know about your event we can’t point them in your direction.


We are hoping to raise £2,000 during Hedgehog Awareness Week 2017, texting HHOG17 £5 to 70070 will donate £5 to this appeal. (You can change amount to £1, £2, £3, £4, or £10 to donate those amounts).


To donate to our Hedgehog Awareness Week campaign online please click https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/bhps/haw17

Leaflets and posters are available on our website or we can post copies out on request.


Click here to download the Hedgehog Awareness Poster

Hedgehog Awareness Week 2017

Hedgehog Awareness Week Events 2017

A sad day for BHPS

We are deeply saddened to announce that our Founder, Major Adrian Coles MBE has passed away.

Major Coles, who became nationally known as Major Hedgehog, founded the British Hedgehog Preservation Society in 1982 and was instrumental in giving the hedgehog the high profile that it now enjoys.  Our Charity now has 11,000 members, publishes regular newsletters and works tirelessly to improve awareness of the plight of the hedgehog.

Major Coles was also a Shropshire County Councillor, Civic Head and Chairman, former Chairman of his local District Council (South Shropshire) and former Chairman of his Parish Council. He was well known to Members of Parliament for his campaigns to help the hedgehog, had appeared many times on television and given countless radio broadcasts.

He was awarded an MBE for his services to the community on 2000, was an Honorary Alderman of South Shropshire and was a Freeman of the City of London.

More recently he moved to London and became a Chelsea Pensioner, donning the famous scarlet coat with pride.

Major Coles died peacefully at Royal Hospital Chelsea on 23rd March 2017 aged 86.

We are deeply saddened by loss of someone who did so much for hedgehogs.  We owe a debt of gratitude to Adrian, who leaves our thriving active Charity as a legacy to us all.  Our work will continue” said Fay Vass, Chief Executive of the BHPS – “that is what Major Hedgehog would have wished.”

Our thoughts are with Adrian’s family at this very sad time.