The hedgehog houses at Smallhythe Place

A Hedgehog foraging for food in a grass setting

The gardens at Smallhythe Place are home to a diverse array of fauna and flora. Over the past few years our gardeners and volunteers have been working tirelessly to improve the garden and create safe habitats for our resident wildlife. This work recently won us the Silver Gilt award from the Kent Wildlife Trust.

Hedgehogs in particular are rapidly disappearing from our environment. Over the last decade their population has decreased by 30% and it is alleged that today there remain fewer than one million in Great Britain.

To help conserve this rapidly declining species, we have built and installed hedgehog houses around the gardens of Ellen Terry’s picturesque home. Nestled in a quiet and covered corner of the garden up towards the Nuttery, and another hidden behind the picnic tables outside the Theatre Tearoom, we have picked two tranquil spaces where our resident prickly friends can enjoy a cosy and undisturbed retreat.

What are they made from?

Made out of log piles, fallen leaves, moss and damp earth, our hedgehog houses provide safe and warm nesting areas, the perfect hideaway from the hustle and bustle of our daily visitors.

Situated next to hedgerows abundant with growth, greenery and insect activity, these provide our hedgehogs with a diverse and delicious menu where they can munch on invertebrates, slugs, earthworms and crunchy beetles.

We work hard to increase and diversify our resident wildlife at Smallhythe Place and garden in a wildlife-friendly way to ensure our onsite inhabitants can move around and live safely in the countryside haven of Ellen Terry’s home. Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggy-Winkle would be proud of us.

 

 

How to encourage hedgehogs in your own garden

Here are a few top tips from the Wildlife Trust to help encourage hedgehogs in the garden:

  1. Provide nesting sites: made from logs, leaves or in wilderness areas in an undisturbed corners of the garden.
  2. Build a hedgehog home: a pile of leaves or logs in a quiet sheltered area.
  3. Avoid using slug pellets: these can be gobbled up by hedgehogs, or they can eat contaminated insects.
  4. Grow a diverse array of plants: this will help attract natural hedgehog food.
  5. Use drain and gullie covers: hedgehogs have bad eyesight and often get stuck or caught in a hole.
  6. Check your bonfires before lighting them: hedgehogs like to nest in warm covered areas, try not to build bonfires in advance.