Ipswich community gardens are going the whole hog

Two lovely community gardens in Ipswich are helping their local hedgehog populations thrive, and are encouraging their local communities to do the same!

The People's Community Garden is run by charity ActivLives and can be found in Maidenhall allotments.  The garden is a place where people of all ages and abilities can come together to learn new skills and develop an inspiring green space for all to enjoy. They have a brilliant array of habitat for hedgehogs and other wildlife including  large stretches of critical winter nesting bramble habitat, wildflower areas, log piles and habitat piles, hedgehog houses and ponds, and of course, gaps in their fences for hedgehogs to pass through!

Last year, with thanks to our funding from Heritage Lottery and British Hedgehog Preservation Society, we developed some signage for the garden to help the local community learn more about hedgehogs whilst wandering around the site and we have loved seeing photos of these up and in place highlighting the fab features the garden has to offer.

More recently I've been working with a newly created community garden in Castle Hill allotments, created by volunteers as part of the NW Ipswich Big Local Trust. It has been brilliant seeing the garden as it progresses. After some initial advice for wildlife-friendly features, there are now some great habitat piles and wildflower patches ready for some signage. Here I am below with some lovely volunteers at the garden, who had been hard at work through the morning with various tasks across the site!

Community garden signs1

Castle Hill Community Garden volunteers and SWT Hedgehog Officer, photo by Tracey

We know hedgehogs are present in both community gardens from a range of surveys that have taken place in the past couple of years. Hedgehog Champion Simon detected hedgehog footprints during his survey of Castle Hill allotments  in 2017 and we've been lucky enough to spot several hedgehogs (or one hedgehog following us!) on night walks at the People's Community Garden. Get in touch if you'd like to conduct a footprint survey in your green space, and keep an eye on our What's On  for night walks later in the year. Remember to log your hedgehog sightings and hedgehog-friendly garden features on our online map!

I'm looking forward to seeing the plaques upon my next visit to the gardens, and I hope many will read and be inspired by the array of advice we have provided - I hope you'll check out the gardens for yourself too! For lots of tips and ideas for helping hedgehogs in your local patch, check out our website, here.

Community garden hog

One of three hedgehog sightings on our night walk at the People's Community Garden last year!