The Howbery Business Park team is quilled to be focusing on making its grounds hedgehog friendly this year, as part of its ongoing commitment to the Nurture Biodiversity Scheme. It’s Howbery’s third year of six formally working on biodiversity initiatives, rolling on from previous initiatives focusing on bumblebees and birds.
To support hedgehogs, the Howbery team is aiming to meet the award’s criteria set out by Nurture Landscapes and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS). The team will be looking at initiatives such as installing new houses for hedgehogs, ensuring that they have a plentiful food supply in the park and checking they have safe corridors to travel through it.
“Hedgehogs need support as their numbers have been dwindling over the years,” Nurture’s Biodiversity Manager Simon Blackley explained. “Their numbers dropped by about 70 per cent from the 1970s to the 1990s, and a further half of the population of native hedgehogs were lost from the British countryside over the last two decades.”
Last year Howbery Park focused on birds, installing feeding stations, monitoring stations, tawny owl boxes and other new boxes for songbirds. The grounds team also surveyed the plants and trees to check that there were plentiful berries and grains for birds. In recognition of completing a year of bird-focused initiatives, Nurture Landscapes presented us with a second inscription – the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) – on our Biodiversity Award.
“The year-by-year approach is giving real structure to Howbery’s biodiversity work, and encourages everyone to think about the needs of one particular area of conservation for a year, said Simon. “I’m particularly encouraged to see the bird feeders next to the café’s terrace, allowing people inside and out to observe the birds. This meets one of the aims of the scheme – to raise public awareness of flora and fauna.”
Estates Manager Donna Bowles added: “While we are excited to move on to supporting hedgehogs this year, that doesn’t mean we stop supporting birds suddenly – the focus year is just the starting point for ongoing work. This year we are planning to add more bird boxes, monitor their use, and we took part again in the Big Garden Birdwatch.”