Field Studies Centre helps protect UK hedgehogs from decline

Staff at a Conwy field centre are helping to safeguard the UK’s hedgehog population after building a highway and two special hotels for the much-loved garden animals.

The newly installed structures at Rhyd-y-creuau Field Centre in Betws-y-coed have been introduced by the Field Studies Council (FSC) to help educate its visitors about hedgehogs.

The move is part of a national campaign to protect Britain’s hedgehog population from further decline. In the past decade the UK has lost more than half of rural hedgehogs and a third from towns and cities.

The Hedgehog Highway – a wooden structure with a small arch cut into it – has been installed along a trail within the grounds of the centre.

The archway is designed to help the animals move around the land more freely so that they can search for food and mate.

Two hotels, built from natural materials such as fern and moss, have also been installed next to the highway.

Maintenance officer Tony Godbert, who built the structures with the help of student Naveena Varma, who is currently on placement at the centre from Loughborough University, said: “The hedgehog population has been declining steadily for years and one of the reasons behind this is because fences and walls are becoming more and more secure, reducing the land available to them.

“At night time hedgehogs can travel up to one mile in search of food and a mate so we can help them out by removing barriers and cutting a small hole in garden fences so they don’t become trapped.”

Tony added that the centre’s new highway will be used to educate visitors on what they can do at home in their own gardens to help hedgehogs.

People can also visit the website https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/ for more ideas on how to support the hedgehog population.

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