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Home Forums Champions’ chat THE BADGER V HEDGEHOG DEBATE

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    I finally got around to watching Sunday’s edition of Countryfile last night, (thanks Nic) which tried to shed light on the reasons behind the hedgehogs’ rapid decline in recent years and if it was in any way linked to the rising numbers of badgers. As another member has already pointed out, there was no definite conclusion and no doubt the argument will continue to rage on.

    In recent weeks there has been a distinct change in the mood of the birds in our garden. At this time of year we usually begin to be woken up by a steadily increasing dawn chorus of songbirds, which by July has reached deafening proportions. However, the melodic tunes of blackbirds and song thrushes (yes we still have one!) has mainly been replaced by the awful cackling of a gang of crows. I am not a huge fan of crows, but I can’t help feeling a bit sorry for this rowdy bunch, just like much of our wildlife these days, they have been forced to flee their homes by the unstoppable march of the digger. For the last few months the diggers have been busy clearing land for what was purported to be a new garden centre on the edge of our village, to replace the modest old one. At first the crows must have thought they had struck gold as they followed the diggers around – even balancing on top of the cabs and the buckets – as a veritable avian feast of creepy crawlies was dually unearthed. But little did they know (or we know for that matter!) that their fields would soon be replaced by a shopping…err garden centre, the size of a small town! Yes, gone are the days when you could just pop in on your way home for a bag of compost or a tray of petunias. To undertake this task now requires a spare couple of hours and negotiating a car park the size of two football pitches. Upon entering the building, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had just stepped inside an art gallery, whilst to find anything remotely to do with horticulture requires all the skills of a Victorian plant hunter. Somewhere in there must be the stuff in which to plant my cosmos seeds, but I have yet to find my way past the clothes, handbags, shoes, kettles, toasters, and oh yes, the food hall (I kid you not!) If I tell you that one couple had travelled for over two hours to get there, then it gives you some idea of the scale… it is now a tourist attraction!

    And if the displaced crows thought that they would be able to set up camp in the trees and hedgerows just a mile down the road, then they were in for another rude awakening. The chain saws and the diggers got busy there just a few weeks ago, on prime green belt land, in order to make way for a development of over a thousand new homes.

    So whilst the academics, naturalists, ecologists and farmers all wrangle over what or whom is to blame for the demise of our beloved hedgehogs, the uncomfortable truth is staring us right in the face…

    On a brighter note, many of our hedgehogs have returned (thank goodness) and are now busy munching their way through four dishes of cat biscuits a night whilst bouncing each other around on the patio. Hardly surprising then, that they should seek the comparative safety of our gardens. Yet again, another large area of their habitat and food source has disappeared under a layer of concrete and tarmac putting them in closer proximity to their arch rival and ‘neighbour from hell’ the badger!


    Hi Penny, sadly we are having similar issues in our village thankfully nowhere near your scale (at the moment). We are getting increasing numbers of rooks. We have lovely fields around the village, not sure how long for. The diggers are busy filling in people’s back gardens at the moment with houses. We are lucky in that a lot of fields around our side of the village belong to a horse sanctuary and they appear to be extending their range and making more paddocks, very please about, safeguarding those fields.

    I know what you mean on the garden centre front, long gone are the days you could walk into a garden centre and just have plants etc.. they all seem to be going down the same route, it only gets worse as the seasonal displays start! Should you ask anyone in one of these mega garden centres a horticultural question chances are they look vaguely at you and don’t know the answer.

    Traffic is a serious issue nowadays, what used to be country lanes seem to heave under the weight of traffic now. Long gone are the days we only saw 2 cars on the way to work, it’s a constant stream in both directions and I can only assume by people that excited at going to work they have to drive like idiots in the rush to get there. This morning a couple of female pheasants, a moorhen and squirrel all ran the gauntlet to cross the road.

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    With all that building, Penny, I hope your local council are following the initiative of Alsagar Council:

    I agree with you, Nina, about the traffic – which I’m sure kills far more hedgehogs than badgers ever do. Everyone always seems in such a hurry these days. Let’s hope the new traffic signs make some difference, although I suppose it will be up to local councils, in the end, whether or not they use them.


    That’s brilliant Nick, I will make the council and the builders aware.

    I know what you mean about the roads Nina, there must be at least three times the amount of traffic on the road leading to the new garden…err, out of town shopping centre, than there was previously. Thankfully it closes at 6.00pm, so it should have eased off by the time the hogs drag themselves out of bed.

    Regarding the new hedgehog crossing signs, I think we all need to get busy contacting our local councils, they are never going to use them unless we keep on ‘badgering’ them (pardon the pun!)

    Oh, and that bag of compost, I decided it was much easier just to pick one up from the supermarket…at least they have trolleys. I don’t recall seeing anything with wheels in order to transport your garden purchases, but then they wouldn’t want to make the place look untidy would they!!!

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