Highways and houses for hedgehogs at Taylor Wimpey project
Sustaining Dunbar’s Pledgehog Project is now being supported by housing developers Taylor Wimpey and the Dunbar Shed in their work to help the hedgehogs of Dunbar.
Taylor Wimpey has incorporated ‘Hedgehog Highways’ into the site plans at Dunbar’s new ‘Belhaven Way’ housing development. These highways will be small 13cm square gaps in the garden fence boundaries that will allow hedgehogs to access gardens which otherwise might be fully fenced off and out of bounds for them.
Hedgehogs were listed as vulnerable to extinction on the Red List for Britain’s Mammals 2020 and loss of accessible habitat is one of the factors which has caused their recent decline.
Taylor Wimpey has also been working on a UK scale with Hedgehog Street, a nationwide campaign by wildlife charities The British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species.
Grace Johnson, hedgehog officer for Hedgehog Street, said: “The Hedgehog Highways in Taylor Wimpey’s Belhaven Way will be the first on their developments in East Lothian. This is good news for local hedgehogs as they will now be able to access lots of different gardens when searching for food, shelter and mates, which is key for their long-term survival.
“If a development is created it’s vital that such Highways are incorporated, as without them hedgehogs remain cut off from each other and prime habitats. There are lots of other ways the new homeowners in Belhaven Way can help hedgehogs too, such as becoming a Hedgehog Champion, leaving areas of their garden wild, putting out shallow dishes of water and encouraging natural insect food with log piles, leaf piles and compost heaps.”
Karen Malt, sustainability champion for Taylor Wimpey East Scotland, said: “We’re committed to helping to build more sustainably and we are creating space for nature to thrive on our developments. Across the UK, we are supporting the Hedgehog Street campaign by integrating Hedgehog Highways on our new developments and we are pleased to confirm this will include Belhaven Way in Dunbar.
“We are also delighted to be able to support the local efforts of the Dunbar Pledgehog Project as well as the local Dunbar Shed in the production of hedgehog houses that will play such an important part in providing shelter for these endangered mammals.”
The Dunbar’s Pledgehog Project has been given funding by Taylor Wimpey which is being used to provide the Dunbar Shed with the materials to build around 30 hedgehog houses. The Dunbar Shed is a small but well-equipped workshop, managed by a few multi-skilled volunteers for the benefit of local people to make new friends, promote good health, and combat loneliness.
Membership is free and the wellbeing of local people is at the top of our agenda. The Shed is located within the Dunbar Business Centre on Spott Road. People over the age of 18 can become members then either drop in to use the facilities or get some guidance whilst making their own creation.
The hedgehog houses being made will provide an important year-round shelter; a nesting place for mothers to rear their young throughout the summer months or a safe location to hunker down to hibernate and survive winter.
Jen Walker, Dunbar Pledgehog Project officer, said: “It’s been fantastic meeting so many people with such enthusiasm to help hedgehogs during this project, which is being run throughout 2023 by Sustaining Dunbar and thanks to funding from the Dunbar and East Linton Area Partnership.
“So many people are talking to each other about hedgehogs and making simple changes to their gardens to help them. It’s absolutely fantastic to hear that there will be Hedgehog Highways in Belhaven Way and I can’t wait to see lots of new hedgehog houses being put out in gardens locally thanks to Taylor Wimpey and the Dunbar Shed”.