A new initiative in Suffolk and Essex has been launched to increase the numbers of hedgehogs in our designated landscapes by providing free hedgehog homes and signs to residents.
The hedgehog is a priority species in the Coast & Heaths and Dedham Vale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) Nature Recovery Plans.
In the past decade over a half of rural hedgehogs and a third from towns and cities have been lost. This decline has been brought about by fragmented landscapes of houses, roads, walls, fences, and farming which has meant less connectivity and corridors for wildlife.
Areas in and around towns and villages can be excellent habitats for hedgehogs, and hedgehogs often prefer them over farmland. To help hedgehogs, the AONB Team are giving away free hedgehog homes and hedgehog highway signs to suitable locations.
This offer is only open for sites that are within either the Coast & Heaths or Dedham Vale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or within 1km of their boundaries. To find out if an address is within the AONBs, on Google Maps the AONBs are labelled and shown as the pale green areas.
There is a limited number of homes and signs to giveaway and the AONB will operate on a first come first served basis for suitable sites. A maximum of one hedgehog home and two signs can be given out per site. If you live outside this area unfortunately you will not be eligible for a free box.
To apply for a free hedgehog home and signs, please visit www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org or www.dedhamvalestourvalley.org, click on the hedgehog homes section and complete the short application form.
The scheme follows a recent pilot project in East Bergholt which saw the village embrace several initiatives aimed at supporting hedgehogs and creating hedgehog-friendly gardens.