Homes for hedgehogs at Bempton Cliffs

Rebecca Stuart adds leaves to a 'hogitat'.

Rebecca Stuart adds leaves to a 'hogitat'.

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A BRIDLINGTON nature reserve is doing its bit to ensure hedgehogs have somewhere warm to spend the cold winter months.

Autumn is the time when hedgehogs start to think about finding somewhere snug to spend the coldest months, so RSPB Bempton Cliffs has joined forces with two other reserves to launch an innovative house-building programme that will see hedgehog estates spring up from Bridlington to Barnsley.

As part of Time for Bed season, which runs throughout October and November, visitors to RSPB Bempton Cliffs will be able to try their hand at building and decorating the hedgehog homes.

The other reserves taking part in the project are RSPB Old Moor and RSPB Fairburn Ings.

Liz Hirst, RSPB communications manager, said: “It’s really easy to Step Up for Nature to give hedgehogs a helping hand as they settle down in a cosy spot to see out the winter.

“Just using a cardboard box, a bin liner and some dry leaves, twigs and moss, we’ll be creating DIY hedgehog shelters and showing visitors how easy it is for them to help hedgehogs at home.”

Some lucky hogs will be able to bag a five-star home, as purpose-built hedgehog houses, on sale in RSPB shops, will also go out on the reserve.

And as well as a spot of house-building, visitors to the reserve will be able to take part in a wide variety of activities, from following the hedgehog quiz trail, to making a bug house or adding a dream to the wildlife dreamcatcher.

And with Bonfire night fast approaching the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) have urged the public not to build bonfires until the day they are to be lit to avoid them becoming potentially dangerous homes for hedgehogs.

Fay Vass, chief executive of BHPS, said: “If material is stored on open ground in advance of having a bonfire, it’s crucial to dismantle it and move it to another spot just before lighting.

“Ensure it’s moved to clear ground, never on top of a pile of leaves as there could be a hedgehog underneath, and not too close to pampas grass which can ignite very easily and is another favourite spot for hedgehogs to hide under.”