A very spiky 40th birthday to Shropshire-based hedgehog society

A Shropshire hedgehog charity is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a long list of birthday presents for you to get for the spiny garden critters.

With Hedgehog Awareness Week running from Sunday (May 1) to May 7, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) has taken the opportunity to look back on its roots and ahead to the future.

BHPS is based at Hedgehog House, in Dhustone, near Ludlow, and it was formed on April 30, 1982, after Major Adrian Coles MBE rescued one of the threatened creatures from a cattle grid by using a saucepan.

Major Hedgehog, as he became known, realised that if he hadn’t been on hand with a saucepan, the hedgehog would not have survived.

Major Coles used his position as a councillor at the time to get Shropshire Council to install escape ramps in all its grids.

The resulting publicity was so vast that he realised there was a great appetite to help the humble hedgehog in the UK; and so the society was founded.

Now approaching middle age the society says that hedgehogs are struggling but us humans can take some steps to make the humble little nest and burrow builders' lives safer.

BHPS chief executive Fay Vass said: “Hedgehogs are struggling and mostly that’s due to human activity; these small actions can help a great deal - a little effort from each of us could make life a lot easier for hedgehogs!

"If you don’t have a garden yourself, you can still help by contacting public space managers, neighbours, family and friends to ensure they are doing their bit.”

The charity's list of hedgehoggy birthday wishes includes:

Make Hedgehog Highways in fences. They need to be 5 inch by 5 inch (13 x 13cm) gaps in the bottom of fences or walls. Once created you can log these on the BIG Hedgehog Map at www.bighedgehogmap.org

Create an undisturbed log pile that will offer shelter and food.

Buy or build a Hedgehog Home (see plans at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/hedgehog-homes or contact BHPS for a paper copy).

Offer water and meaty cat or dog food for hedgehogs – you can even build a feeding station to help keep the food safe (see plans on BHPS website or contact them for a paper copy)

Check areas carefully before mowing or strimming.

Ditch pesticides and poisons.

Ensure there is an easy route out of ponds and pools.

Create a wild corner – leave a corner or edge to go wild, supplying shelter and natural food for hedgehogs in the form of bugs and grubs!

Join BHPS (or if you are already a supporter – recruit someone else). Prices start at just £7.50 for an individual UK supporter!

Hedgehog Awareness Week runs from May 1 to 7 this year, organised by the BHPS.

It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them, find out more about #hedgehogweek on the BHPS website or follow them on social media.

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