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Hedgehog Street People: Karen from Landkey

11th June 2023

Karen Thomas runs the Landkey Hedgehog Group.  Landkey is a small village in North Devon, just outside Barnstaple with a population of just over 1700 people.

Creating the group

The group was formed in August 2022 as Karen wanted to bring people together with a love of hedgehogs and also to share advice, swap stories, ask questions and spread information on how they can all encourage and support hedgehogs in the village.

From six people attending that first meeting they now have monthly meetings of between 15 – 20 people and a Facebook group of 70 members and growing.

A Landkey Hedgehog Group meeting.

Their original aims were to:-

  • Increase the number of hedgehog highways within the village thus supporting the current local hedgehog population.
  • Involve the parish council to, hopefully, erect slow down road signs.
  • Be a point of contact for advice and information.
  • Encourage more people to make their habitats hedgehog friendly by handing out Hedgehog Street Top Tips leaflets.

Exceeding expectations

However they have achieved lots more than expected. Karen had an article printed in a local magazine on general care for hedgehogs coming out of hibernation. Talks were given to a local art group, an environment group, the Brownies and the local primary school.

At the primary school they were able to address the whole school assembly.  One lady from the village has very kindly knitted the group a hedgehog mascot who the children have named Herbert!

Herbert the hedgehog

In their mini gardening club, the children are creating wildlife and hedgehog friendly school grounds. Landkey Hedgehog group will also be going in to help the children and the gardeners create hedgehog highways.

The group has also created links with a nearby charity The Men’s Shed who have produced hedgehog homes, feeding stations and ramps from reused and recycled materials. 

On the coronation bank holiday they had a stall as part of the village fete.  They asked people to plot their hedgehog sightings and hedgehog highways. They were pleased to see children, from the local school, bringing their parents up to see the group and Herbert!

Handing out information.

Linking up with others

The group are very grateful to North Devon Biosphere which is an UNESCO site and their campaign Nature Recovery Plan.  They have been instrumental in awarding the group a grant to buy a camera trap which is available to be loaned out.  Landkey Hedgehog group members have been making their pledges for nature which is aligning with the Government’s 25 year Environment plan.  Through North Devon Biosphere they have been introduced to other organisations that have a remit in supporting nature such as Finding Nature’s Footprints with North Devon Area of Outstanding Beauty as well the gardeners from the Mini Gardeners Club with whom they are working for Landkey Primary school.

They have contributed to Plastic Free North Devon in their campaign litter pick and are currently collecting data on roadkill as evidence to present to the Traffic Management team of Devon County Council for slow down road signs.

The group continues to grow and continues to bring together people of all ages.  New friendships are formed and partnerships created all due to this beautiful spiny mammal, the hedgehog.