Set against a backdrop of unprecedented concern for the future of the natural world, in 2019 the Wye Valley AONB Partnership, along with AONB’s across the UK, signed up to the Colchester Declaration. This is an ambitious plan to recover nature in and beyond protected landscapes, build climate resilience, and enhance engagement with people. As part of this effort, each AONB has committed to adopting a threatened species, and preparing and delivering a Species Action Plan. The Wye Valley AONB has committed to adopting 5 locally significant species, each of which represent one of the AONB’s special qualities, and/or indicate the health of a well-connected landscape. The first of our 5 adopted species is the hedgehog, which is threatened in both rural and urban environments. We have chosen it for its important role as an indicator species, with the hedgehog’s habits and population trends closely reflecting the health of our landscape.
Our Wye Valley AONB Hedgehog campaign is called ‘Wye Hedgehogs‘ and we will be working with our fantastic local Wye Hedgehog Hero Dylan Allman. You may have seen Dylan, from Monmouth, on The One Show. During the first Lockdown Dylan started his ‘Be Hedgehog Aware’ campaign to reduce the number of hedgehog injuries sustained through garden strimming or mowing. He designed stickers to go on garden equipment to remind people to check for hedgehogs before strimming and has managed to persuade Hyundai Power Products to use his stickers! They are the first company to have 100,000 strimmers and mowers coming off the production line with these safety stickers on. This is an amazing achievement and we are delighted Dylan has agreed to be our ‘Wye Hedgehog Hero’ Check out his film here which has lots of tips on how to make hedgehog friendly gardens and feeding stations.
We’ll also be working alongside the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Ross on Wye Hedgehog Care & Advice and other local groups to make the Wye Valley the hedgehog friendliest AONB! Do get in touch if you would like to be involved.
Our campaign seeks to increase our understanding of the distribution and abundance of hedgehogs in the Wye Valley, through conducting surveys and working with local communities to take action for hedgehogs. To help us better understand the current status of our hedgehog populations, we’d like you to help us record where the Wye Valley AONB’s hedgehogs are. Please let us know when you last saw a hedgehog, and where, by emailing a grid reference or what3words address to Ellie – firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be announcing more activities during the year.