National builders’ merchant, Jewson, has stepped forward as the first major national company to endorse the ‘Hedgehog Friendly Fencing’ campaign initiated by Hedgehog Street. This remarkable endeavour, which commenced in July, comes as a result of the tireless efforts and determination of one of our own students, Sixth Former Dylan, amongst like-minded volunteers.
Alongside his academic studies with us, Dylan has been on a mission to raise awareness for hedgehogs. His journey towards advocating for hedgehog conservation began during the summer lockdown of 2020 when he discovered hedgehogs in his garden. This chance encounter ignited his passion and commitment to address the alarming decline in their populations.
Also, in addition to becoming a Hedgehog Champion (a Hedgehog Street volunteer who pledges to make their garden hedgehog friendly in a bid to boost populations), Dylan has also simultaneously set up his own campaign Hedgehog Aware and also guest speaks at gardening clubs, schools, exhibitions and has also appeared on Radio One, the BBC One Show, Radio 4 Today and Sky News.
As part of Hedgehog Street’s ‘Hedgehog Friendly Fencing’ campaign, Dylan and fellow volunteers have been actively engaging with local and national fencing companies, urging them to include hedgehog-friendly fencing options in their product ranges. These options include fencing panels with small cut-outs, known as ‘hedgehog highways,’ which allow hedgehogs to move freely between gardens for feeding, shelter, and reproduction.
Habitat fragmentation stands as a key contributor to the decline of Britain’s hedgehog population. According to The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and The People’s Trust for Endangered Species’ ‘State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022′ report (PTES), rural hedgehog numbers have seen a decline of up to 75% in certain regions since 2000. While urban hedgehogs appear to fare slightly better, they too require our support.
Thanks to the amazing efforts of volunteers and particularly Dylan’s involvement in the campaign, Jewson, one of the UKs largest builders’ and timber merchants, have agreed to introduce gravel boards with pre-installed ‘hedgehog highways’ to their product line-up.
In addition to this, Jewson is now also working with wildlife charities People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) who together run Hedgehog Street.
Dylan adds: “Hedgehogs are classified as vulnerable to extinction on the Red List for Britain’s Mammals (2020), but thankfully there are lots of ways we can all help these charismatic creatures. Hedgehog Highways are a key step, but it’s also really important to check for hedgehogs before strimming and mowing – raising awareness about these factors inspired me to start my Hedgehog Aware campaign. I’m so pleased that Jewson are going to be offering such a wonderful wildlife-friendly range of products that I know will help encourage the trade and public to be more aware of hedgehogs, and play their part in helping stop their decline in numbers across the country.”
Jewson’s new ‘Supreme Concrete Wildlife Gravel Board’ will be available in 30 regional stores and online in the new year. If popular with customers, they’ll be introduced to more stores across the country. The board will have a pre-installed 13cm square gap, just the right size for hedgehogs to travel through during the nights.
With the active involvement of the public and Hedgehog Street’s ongoing collaboration with conservation organizations, academics, farmers, landowners, the UK government, housing developers, and now fencing companies, there is hope that the future of native hedgehogs can be transformed for the better.