Berkeley’s Mission To Save Surrey’s Prickly Garden Guests. Hedgehogs are one of the UK’s most beloved animals; synonymous with autumn hibernation, they can be found hiding in gardens, hedgerows, woodlands and parks throughout the country between the months of March and November. Adult hedgehogs are said to travel between 1-2 kilometres per night across a staggering 10-20 hectares in the search for food, with some venturing onto busy roads, putting them at higher risk of being hit by traffic or attacked by predators. With British hedgehogs facing potential extinction within the next 20 years due to the lack of safe foraging spaces, local housebuilder Berkeley is contributing to the nationwide effort to save the hedgehogs by implementing ‘Hedgehog Highways’ at its Cranleigh development, Leighwood Fields.
The biggest cause of the rapid decline of hedgehogs in the UK is due to human interference, and the inability to forage for food in gardens due to fences. At Leighwood Fields, Berkeley is working with a number of wildlife rescue centres to put several measures in place to protect Surrey’s hedgehogs.
Volunteering its homes as a safe place to reintroduce healthy and rehabilitated hedgehogs back into the wild, Berkeley has ensured every home at Leighwood Fields will feature a ‘Hedgehog Highway’ – specially designed 150mm holes at the bottom of timber fences that will allow hedgehogs to roam freely through gardens, without the need to venture onto the road. The flower beds in every back garden will also provide safe cover for hedgehogs to quietly forage for food without being disturbed.
Ben Annetts, Sales and Marketing Director at Berkeley Homes Southern, comments: “We’re honoured to be lending a helping hand to save and preserve the lives of Surrey’s hedgehogs. We were devastated to hear of the decline in hedgehogs in the UK, and immediately knew that we had a responsibility to help stop the numbers falling further. We hope that by introducing the ‘Hedgehog Highways’, we can not only help to preserve the lives of the hedgehogs and offer them a safe space to be reintroduced to the wild, but also boost their population as they will hopefully start to mate and breed in their new habitats.”
For homeowners without a specialised ‘Hedgehog Highway’ there are lots of other ways that they can help make their garden more hedgehog-friendly. Keeping a ‘wild’ corner at the back of a garden can act as a safe place for hedgehogs to forage for food without disturbance, whilst a collection of leaves and brushwood or a small box positioned out of direct sunlight can encourage them to make a nest in the garden. During the winter months when their natural food source of slugs, caterpillars, beetles and snails is scarce, you can leave food such as non-fish cat and dog food outside for them, as well as small amounts of cake, biscuits, peanuts or fresh fruit.
Taking careful consideration to further protect and enhance biodiversity in a new development, Berkeley has implemented a number of new natural habitats for local wildlife at Leighwood Fields. Beautiful ancient woodlands and a village pond maintain a home for small animals and minibeasts alike, whilst a community orchard and village green offer further green areas for both residents and wildlife to enjoy. Embracing a greener lifestyle, residents will also be much closer to nature with access to a new winding footpath for walkers, horse riders and cyclists to share, that connects directly to the Downs Link path.
The latest phase at Leighwood Fields is The Ashwoods, a collection of two, three and four bedroom homes exquisitely designed to Berkeley’s traditional high standard. Interiors enjoy spacious, open-plan layouts filled with light, offering designer kitchens and bathrooms with a luxury specification. Externally, every home will come with a generously-sized garden and a parking space, complementing the 21st century family lifestyle.
For further information on helping hedgehogs, please visit: www.wildlifetrusts.org. To find out more information on the homes available at Leighwood Fields, please visit: www.leighwoodfields.co.uk or call 01483 397 800.
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