Hedgehogs in South Stoke

Sightings and Trails

Project Update, February 2022

Following our article in last September’s e-Newsletter, full detail below, we have now extended our mapping of hedgehog trails to include the southern half of the village. Again, using information available on hedgehog sightings and gaps in and under fences, we have identified some possible, regularly used trails and colour-coded plots of land depending on how easy it might be for hedgehogs to get in and out.

Quite a few hedgehog sightings have been reported in the southwest quadrant of the village i.e. the part west of the railway and between South Bank and Cross Keys Rd and a number of possible trails have been identified. If we can add a few more access points this could be a very hog friendly area. However, to get a more complete picture it would be useful to have more data on potential hedgehog access points to land adjoining the railway embankment.

We don’t have many sightings in the south-eastern part of the village i.e. in and around the Glebe field, but this is fairly open anyway. The main road however poses a danger to hedgehogs, there have been a number of hedgehog casualties reported there in the past. See maps below.

It is completely understandable that some plots of land are almost impenetrable on all sides, in order to keep children and dogs in, or rabbits out, so we are not aiming any criticism at anyone if their land is inaccessible to hedgehogs. However, our maps aim to give us an idea of where they may roam at night and where we could open up some new highways for them - with the landowner's permission of course.

What we plan to do now is to add new sightings once hedgehogs emerge from their winter hibernation - usually in March, but dependent on the weather. We will then use the revised maps to amend our preliminary trails and identify any areas void of hedgehogs. In these areas we will talk to villagers about how a small hole in their boundary fences and walls can be of great benefit to South Stoke’s hedgehogs, especially for foraging and searching for mates.

Ian & Ali – South Stoke Wildlife & Conservation Group

Just to remind you, gaps in fences and walls need only be very small for hedgehogs to get through - about a 5” square gap, the size of a CD - so larger animals shouldn’t be able to get through easily. As a broad rule of thumb, if you can get a clenched fist under a gate or fence, most hedgehogs will make it through, too.

And to get the best and latest information for our maps, please could you let us know if you spot any hogs in the coming Spring. Also, any gaps in fences, walls or under gates that we don't have access to. Finally, if you think we've colour coded your plot of land incorrectly because of a lack of information, we'd be very happy to change it. Thanks for your help in advance.

2022_02_12 SE Quadrant.png
2022_02_12 SW Quadrant.png

Hedgehogs in South Stoke

Sightings and Trails

Project Update, September 2021

Hedgehogs are declining in numbers across the UK, with some surveys showing that numbers have fallen by about 50% since the turn of the century. This is mainly in urban areas, with more walls and fences preventing hedgehogs roaming around to find food and shelter, increased lighting, road deaths and competition from other animals. However, they are also declining in rural areas due mainly to hedgerow and field margin loss.

Apart from being an iconic part of our British wildlife scene (and quite cute), they are also an indicator species in the conservation world. Because hedgehogs feed on soil invertebrates, a decline in hedgehogs also indicates a decline in the quality of our environment and the health of the natural world.  

Various villages in the UK have tried to address this issue by surveying hedgehog trails and then making new trails in order to help them roam more freely and prosper in numbers eg Kirtlington in Oxfordshire https://kirtlingtonvillage.co.uk/kirtlington-hedgehog-street

In an effort to do something about the decline in numbers in South Stoke we have mapped out some possible hedgehog trails in the central part of the village (between the main bounding roads) using sightings that parishioners have informed us about, and a walkabout survey of gaps in fences and under gates (while walking only on public paths and in public spaces). We started with the two northern parts of the village, either side of the railway, but plan to do something similar for the two southern bits. Based on this rather sketchy information we have then worked out some possible, regular trails and colour coded plots of land on how accessible we think they are to hedgehogs and how easy it might be for them to traverse that plot. 

2021_09_20 Hedgehog Access NW Quadrant.jpg
2021_09_20 Hedgehog Access NE Quadrant.jpg

We should point out that gaps in fences and walls need only be very small for hedgehogs to get through - about a 5” square gap, the size of a CD - so larger animals shouldn’t be able to get through easily. As a broad rule of thumb, if you can get a clenched fist under a gate or fence, most hedgehogs will make it through, too.

It is completely understandable that some plots of land are almost impenetrable on all sides, in order to keep children and dogs in, or rabbits out, so we are not trying to criticise anyone if their land is not accessible for hedgehogs, but it gives us an idea of where they may be going at night and an idea of some new trails that could be opened up - with the landowner's permission of course. In order to add further data to our maps and to improve our understanding of the possible trails, please could you let us know if there are further sightings that we're not currently showing, or gaps in fences, walls or under gates that we don't have access to. Or if you think we've colour coded your plot of land incorrectly because of a lack of information, we'd be very happy to change it. Thanks for your help in advance. 

Ian & Ali – South Stoke Wildlife & Conservation Group