Saving the Hedgehogs: Berkeley’s mission to save Fleet’s foraging 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[1], 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 Crookham Village development, Hareshill.

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 Hareshill, Berkeley is working with a number of wildlife rescue centres to put several measures in place to protect Hampshire’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 Hareshill 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 Hampshire’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.

Not only is Berkeley helping save the wildlife at Hareshill, but the new properties are also contributing to the wider environment, boasting a superior specification with sustainability at the forefront. Off-plan purchasers can choose from four different options of stylish natural timber kitchen cabinetry, available in lighter or darker colourways. The flooring in each home is made from cork, a natural plant fibre that offers a renewable, recyclable and biodegradable option. As extra support to help the environment, the manufacturer will plant a new tree for every natural timber kitchen installed at Hareshill, meaning buyers can kickstart their greener lifestyle without leaving home. The wider development features extensive landscaping including native and newly planted trees, ancient woodland, a community green and new wetland pond, which will encourage biodiversity and attract local wildlife.

Nestled in the picturesque country village of Crookham, just over a mile from the bustling commuter town of Fleet, Hareshill comprises an attractive new collection of one to five bedroom homes. No matter the size, each property enjoys flexible communal living spaces, luxurious bedrooms and exceptional private outside space, offering the perfect combination of style and practicality. Off-plan purchasers can personalise their property by selecting their choice of kitchen cabinetry and flooring, as well as the finishing touches in the bathroom.

For further information on helping hedgehogs, please visit www.wildlifetrusts.org. To find out more information on the homes available at Hareshill, please call 01252 751276 or visit www.berkeleygroup.co.uk/ .

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