Feature: New hedgehog village opens at Elsham

A new village was opened recently, but nobody will be living there......except a group of hedgehogs.

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The specially constructed Hedgehog Village sits in a shady corner of the walled garden at Elsham Hall.

Each hedgehog has its own bespoke house and space to snuffle around.

The new project sees Elsham Gardens and Country Park, owned by the Elwes family, working with Caistor Hedgehog Care, run by Laurie Fox.

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The village will offer time for recuperation for some of the injured and sick hedgehogs before they are released.

Laurie took eight hedgehogs along to be the first residents of the village.

She said: “It is just wonderful.

“I think they are going to be spoilt rotten for a while.

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“I am delighted to be working with Elsham Gardens and Country Park to help bring these lovely creatures back to health.”

The village was constructed by head gardener Mark Hazzard under the guidance of the Gardens and Country Park’s nature warden Vee Harness, who couldn’t be happier that the project is now up and running.

She said: “Mark has created the hedgehog village with such enthusiasm it has led to the whole team being totally infected with ‘hogmania’.

“The team of Lesley, Tracey, Mark, Cath and Nigel, headed up by Natasha Diamond have all worked hard and turned, what was initially a dream into a reality.

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“All the hedgehogs here today have been nursed back to health by Laurie and her husband Mark at Caistor.

“Now we are offering them some rest and recuperation to help build their muscles back to strength before they can go back to living a natural life.

The team was on hand to see the hedgehogs arrive and helped introduce them into their new homes.

They also had the honour of naming them.

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Also at the homing event were two visitors to the gardens, who just happened upon the occasion.

Elizabeth and Robert Taylor were walking through the gardens when team leader Natasha encouraged them to see the village.

Elizabeth said: “It is a wonderful project and we are so pleased we were here and that Natasha called us over.

“It is the first time I have seen a hedgehog so close and it was lovely to be able to put it into its new home.

“I was even allowed to name it - I chose Harriet.

“We will definitely be coming back to see how they are all getting on.”

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While the Taylors were able to see the hedgehogs in action, Vee had a word of caution to other visitors.

She said: “Hedgehogs are nocturnal, so visitors are unlikely to see them as they will be curled up and asleep, so don’t be disappointed when you come to see the hedgehog village.

“The most important thing is that people can learn about these wonderful creatures.

“Part of my role of nature warden is to help develop the educational side.

“It is particularly important for young people to learn about the plight of the hedgehog and what we can all do to help their conservation.”

Elsham Gardens and Country Park, which can be found just outside Brigg, is open every day from 11am to 5pm.

For more information visit www.elshamhall.co.uk

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