Author: Susan Dodd (Page 1 of 2)

Christmas Cards for Charity

Bourton-on-the-water is an exquisitely beautiful village and the enormous Christmas tree displayed in the river must surely be one of the loveliest Christmas displays in the country, especially when we are treated to a magical dusting of snow which we have been lucky enough to enjoy several times in the last few years. This year I decided to commission local artist Hannah Shaw to create a family Christmas card featuring the village Christmas and we are all rather pleased with the result. As such I asked Hannah whether she could create some general Christmas cards for the village so that we can sell them to raise funds for local causes and charities. Some of these cards feature typical Christmas scenes and other feature the characters that make up the town and country life in Bourton-on-the-water. These will include choirs singing and children playing on the green, ducks, spotty horses, wildlife, and vintage cars etc. If we have missed any obvious local characters please let me know.

The cards will be printed in A5 with red envelopes. As well as using a Cotswold artist to design these cards, we will be using a small family printers in Stroud to print them. The cards will cost approximately £1 to print and we hope to retail them at £2 each with all profits going to charity. My husband and I are paying for the artwork personally so the only thing we hope to recoup is the cost of the printing. We will however donate the first 150 cards to any local fundraising organisations who would like to sell them (the 150 free cards will be allocated between whoever has asked for them by the end of next week). The cards will be ready for collection from about 1 December 2018.
We need to print the cards in runs of 100 so we are initially releasing the 100 wildlife cars and and 100 snow scenes Christmas cards as shown below. All of the birds and animals on the wildlife Christmas cards have been seen on Marshmouth Lane this November.  I have such fond memories of playing in snow in the village as a child so I really wanted to do a village snow scene so I really wanted to launch a card encapsulating that enormous sense of fun.
I am therefore looking for the following:
– anyone who would personally like to buy the cards at £2 each,
– anyone who might like to help sell the cards,
– any local fundraising organisation who would like to sell the cards on behalf of their charities; and
– any local retailers who might be interested in stocking the cards.
If you have any interest in any of the above please contact me at klobennett@gmail.com.
Hannah Shaw won the Waterstone’s prize for her illustrations in The Hamster Massacre series, Cambridgeshire children’s book award for her first picture book and her stories have been long and shortlisted for many other awards. Her illustrations in The Disgusting Sandwich were selected for Booktrust Scotland’s Book bag scheme and for the Duchess’s Bookshelves list. When she is not doodling in her studio or running school workshops, she likes to grow inedible marrows on her allotment. She studied at the University of Brighton and now lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire with her husband, smelly dog and two young children who steal her favourite drawing pens but provide great inspiration.

Pretty Simple Songs Presents

Set in the idyllic grounds of Bourton Vale Cricket Club, in the heart of the Cotswolds, Bourton-on-the-Water is finally on the music map! Having lived here for three years, it came to light that there is very little live music here, compared to a lot of the surrounding villages. So, I decided to host a monthly music night called PrettySimpleSongs Presents… providing a great platform for singers, songwriters and musicians to showcase their talent. Renowned musicians from around the country have travelled to perform at PrettySimpleSongs Presents… music nights. The evenings are held at the beautiful new pavilion at Bourton Vale Cricket Club and take place on the 1st Friday of each month. December sees PrettySimpleSongs Presents… heading towards its fourth month and has quickly developed some very dedicated followers of musicians and music fans alike. We have heard an array of performers from all genres and ages, making it a welcoming, family friendly evening of live music. There is always some good old fashioned sing alongs and plenty of space for a bit of a dance too. The stage is open to everyone, so bring your guitar, sax, backing tracks etc. Come along and be a part of this unique, fun night. The bar serves a selection of ales, ciders, beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks. There is no entry fee and each evening is put together and run by volunteers who all believe in music and community. On Friday December 7th, 8pm, we will be hosting a magical night of music with food and a few Christmas songs thrown into the mix to coincide with the famous Christmas late night shopping. For more info please contact Silvi on 07504068262 or visit https://en-gb.facebook.com/prettysimplesongspresents/
Hope to see you all there.
From all at PrettySimpleSongs Presents… and Bourton Vale Cricket Club

 

Bourton Roadrunners News

Saturday 13th October, which was a very blustery day, saw the first round of the Gloucestershire cross country league series, held at Old Down Country Park near Thornbury.  Bourton Roadrunners were represented by 8 runners in the senior categories, together with a further 24 members in the junior categories.

The ladies race was a 2 loop course – 4.2 miles – and there were 133 finishers representing various age categories.  The first Bourton Roadrunner home was Emily Field (LU17) finishing in a brilliant time of 33:59. She was followed by Jenni Glass (3rd LV50) in an impressive 36:27.

Next home for the club was Gabby Jones (LU20) in 39:40, with Steph Holton (LV50) running strongly to finish in 40:52.  Gill Carrick (LV55) has returned after injury and had a fine race finishing in 41:38.

The men’s race, which followed 3 loops – 6.2 miles – comprised 208 finishers.  By the time this race had started it was threatening rain and strong winds had whipped-up, making the running conditions very difficult.  Martin Cook (MV40) led the Bourton team home in a time of 47:08. He was followed by Ben Montilla (MV40) in 51:36.  Gary Holton (MV55) endured the difficult conditions to finish strongly in 62:57.  For Gary, this was his first cross country race.  Hopefully the conditions haven’t deterred him from future races.

Stroud Half Marathon – 21st October 2018

Four Bourton Roadrunners headed-off for an early start on a bright but crisp morning at Stroud for the annual Half Marathon, which forms part of this year’s Gloucestershire AAA Road Race Series.  The Bourton team was supported by keen team of supporters, which tried to see the runners at as many safe points as possible, with Ian Shoemark on his bike overseeing two family members among the four.

24 year-old Conor Shoemark, fresh from recent successes at Swindon Half Marathon (77 minutes) and Chester Marathon (2 hours 46 minutes), was looking to achieve a new PB of 75 minutes.  Conor, a jump-jockey by profession, paced himself sensibly and tucked-in with a small group similar ability runners.  He was rewarded for his effort and strategy with a brilliant 1:15:55 and 13th overall in the race with over 1700 finishers.

Darren Long, also experiencing a return to his true-form, having completed the Bournemouth Marathon in 2:59:52 two weeks ago, fought-off his peer-group competition and finished in a creditable 1:24:48.

Niamh Shoemark, mother of Conor, continues to improve her performances in virtually all events.  She maintained a strong pace throughout the race and maintained a relaxed exterior, finishing 1st LV50 (15th lady overall) in a brilliant time of 1:33:03.

The fourth member of Bourton’s team was “Mr Consistent” Andy Peaston, who like Ian Shoemark, is a retained firefighter, sometimes finding it difficult to fit-in the training. However, Andy to a strong and consistent runner and was rewarded with a great time of 1:39:03 for MV50.

Bournemouth Marathon – 7th October 2018

Darren headed-off to Bournemouth, with Norm Lane in support, to take on the Bournemouth marathon.  The race starts in Kings Park before making its way down onto the seafront, taking in the beautiful coastal views, together with Hengistbury Head, Boscombe, Sandbanks and Poole Harbour.

All very nice; however, Darren didn’t have too much time to enjoy the sites as he was planning to finish in under 3 hours for the first time in four yours.

Darren successfully navigated the pedestrians aimlessly leaving the beaches and the odd heartbreak hill thrown-in for good measure in the closing miles, working hard throughout, to maintain his pace to near-perfection, to complete in a brilliant time of 2 hours 59 minutes and 52 seconds.  Additionally, Darren was 4th MV45, and he was able to claim his 3rd sub-3 hour marathon finish.

Tewkesbury 5 miles – Sunday 4th November

For some, the Tewkesbury Guy Fawkes 5 mile road race was their second race of the weekend. The race, which was the last event for this year’s Gloucestershire AAA County road race series, was extremely well organised and well marshalled.

The first Bourton Roadrunner to finish and running well after completing the Bournemouth marathon in under 3 hours, was Darren Long – 2nd MV45 in 30:28 and 19th position overall.  Margaret Hollamby had another fine run – 1st LV60 in 38:12 and Liz Hulcup joined the prize winners – 1st LV65 in 40:47.

Graham Lane had another strong race in 39:05 and Nick Harper, in his first 5 mile race, ran a creditable 40:03.   Lynn Hudson paced Allie Quinn as she knocked a minute off her PB, both 47:08 and Shirley Creed came out of “retirement” following a long injury, running 49:36.  Ellen Montilla in her first race at the distance ran with Donna Harper, with the pair battling in a sprint-finish, achieving 54:36 and 54:37 respectively.  Jeanette Brew, in her first race, ran with Coral Feenan-Hill to complete the race in 65:18 and 65:17.

New York City Marathon – Sunday 4th November

Susan Hunt and Linda Edwards joined over 50,000 other runners in the one the world’s hotly-contested events; the New York City Marathon, which passes through the five boroughs, starting at Staten Island and finishing in Central Park, Manhattan.  Both veteran runners, with Susan having previously represented England at marathon distance. Susan had been planning this race for some time in memory and celebration of her late mother’s own participation in the early days of this blue-ribbon event, when few women ran a full marathon. Both Susan and Linda certainly acquitted themselves with both providing fine performances, and should feel proud of their times – Susan 4:23:12 and Linda 4:51:24.

Gloucestershire Cross-country – Malmesbury – Saturday 3rd November

The second round of the Gloucestershire XC series was held at Charlton Park near Malmesbury.  Although a slightly warmer day than the past few days, it was still difficult running conditions in the blustery wind.  In the ladies race Emily Field had another fine run in a time of 28:53 – 3rd LU17, 25th position out of a field of 171 finishers.  Following close behind was Diana Dee 4th LV50 – 48th in 30:45.  Unsure whether to run due to an injury Jenni Glass did well to finish in 32:34.  Gabby Jones LU17 was next in 34:28, and completing the team was Margaret Hollamby, 37:34.

In the highly-competitive men’s race Cal Winwood finished 42nd from a field of 249 finishers, in a superb time of 35:46; his first race of the series.  David Quli, having watched his son put in a brilliant performance in the earlier boys under-13 race, ran a very strong 40:48 to finish 131st.  Chasing David was the ever-improving Martin Cook (having watched his son Jonathon racing too) achieved a respectable 41:37 over a very challenging course. Completing the men’s team was Ben Montilla, who ran a strong race in 46:13.

Gloucester City 10k Sunday 28th October

After an extra hour in bed on Saturday night (the clocks went back), three members of  Bourton Roadrunners gathered at a chilly start line in Quedgeley, Gloucester on 28th October for the Gloucester 10K.  The field was 791 runners.  A largely flat course, of a single anti-clockwise, traffic free loop took runners out into the countryside before returning to the finish line in industrial estate where it started.

With the extra hour’s sleep under their belts, Ian Tolfts achieved a PB of 50:34 (sub-50 must be next!) (285/795, 35th M50) whilst Mary Worker ran 1:07:56 (697/791, 45th F50) – a great time for her with some splits faster than she imagined!  Linda Edwards, in her last longish run (with no plan for a fast time) before the New York Marathon the following weekend, finished in 53:43 (363/791, 8th F50).  All told, a good event, well run and a good course for setting a PB.

Exmore Half Marathon – Saturday 27th October

Saturday 27th October saw one of Bourton Roadrunners’ husband and wife teams take part in the challenging off-road Exmoor “Half Marathon”. The course consisted of bogs, boulders, rivers and moors, to steep coastal paths and sheer drops!  The course should have been 15 miles, but someone in their wisdom decided to move some signs, sending runners ‘all over the place’.  Steph and Gary Holton ran 16.7 miles in 3:35:29, with an elevation gain of 2,988 feet.  Surprisingly enjoying it and would do it again.

NEW Over 55’s Dance for Fitness Class

NEW Over 55’s Dance for Fitness Class

Every Thursday 12-1pm at The Cotswold Clubhouse, Bourton-on-the-Water.  This class is designed for participants aged 55 and over. Explore dance with Maria by improving coordination, strength and body alignment. Maria aims to help participants develop their technique and musicality at an appropriate pace and level.  Dance is for everyone so come along and give it a go!   Classes are PAYG so no need to book just pop in!

“I have just been to may first Dance for Fitness class at the Cotswold Clubhouse and I loved it! I was a bit apprehensive before going but Maria quickly put me at my ease with her very warm, welcoming personality. Not only does she have impressive credentials as a professional dancer and choreographer but she is an excellent teacher able to tailor what she does to those in the class and clearly loves doing it. A great way to get the body moving!” Wendy

These classes are taught by Maria who is a teacher, choreographer, dance artist and performer. Maria trained at London Studio Centre and London Contemporary Dance School and founded her dance company Pasgetti in 2002. In September 2013 she gained an MSc in Dance Science with Distinction from The University of Wolverhampton. Maria has taught all over the country and travelled all over the world to become the best teacher she can be. With over 18 years experience Maria leads a fun, informative class.

Venue: at The Cotswold Clubhouse, Unit 20b Bourton Industrial Park, Bourton-On-The-Water, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 2HQ Contact Maria on 07732754431 if you have any questions.

 

Panto Quiz

Community IT Outreach Programme

IT Schools Africa –  Community IT Outreach Programme

Increasing access to IT services and skills locally 

Who are we?  IT Schools Africa is an international charity operating across four countries with a common vision to transform lives through access to e-Learning. We help to provide quality education in Africa through the reuse of donated computers to schools as well as supporting a wide range of community work-based initiatives in the UK. We collect and refurbish computer equipment in the UK which is distributed to schools via our partner charities in Africa. Our aim is to reduce the digital divide between nations by providing children in Africa with the chance to gain an education in IT.  IT Schools Africa, since 2004, has distributed over 50,000 computers, completed 20  e–Learning labs, trained over 750 teachers in IT and have given access to IT to 3 million students in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

What are we doing locally?  Based in Cheltenham, we work with back-to-work training agencies and other charities including the Job Centre, Prospect and The Prince’s Trust to support and train people currently out of work. This helps volunteers to develop their employment prospects by improving their IT, communication and workplace skills. We also work actively with many local schools and colleges teaching computer refurbishment and IT skills to the schoolchildren, as well as to students with special needs through work experience placements.  Another important part of our work in the UK is with HM Prison Service. We have set up programmes in a number of UK prisons where we provide prisoners with the opportunity to learn new and practical IT skills so that they can give back to society and reduce their risk of reoffending.

How can we help you?  Our Gloucestershire IT Community Outreach Project is focussing on making a difference locally.   We would like to support community organisations and charities by donating good quality / refurbished desktop computers.  A project could be a new install or an upgrade to existing equipment.  Typical projects could be 5-15 desktop computers but this will depend on individual project needs.  The specifications of the computers could vary slightly depending on stock and availability but will all be in good condition and fully tested.  IT Schools can offer a  variety of levels of technical support  depending on own in house skills

Please complete the form (which can be found on the Bourton Browser website www.bourtonbrowser.co.uk) with as much detail of the proposed project and email to jenny@itschoolsafrica.org

 

Cotswold Friends

Cotswold Friends

Local charity Cotswold Friends celebrated its 40th birthday this week with a party at the stunningly beautiful Lapstone Barn near Chipping Campden. Over 160 volunteers, clients, staff and supporters enjoyed classic cars, cake and conversation in recognition of the charity’s achievements over the years.  The charity began as the Voluntary Help Centre (VHC) in 1978 and was originally set up with the aim of helping and supporting local volunteers and matching them to volunteering roles across the area.    Amanda Howard, CEO at Cotswold Friends said “This gathering today is a clear example of the community spirit of the North Cotswolds.  Without this community spirit, Cotswold Friends would not exist.”  Today, Cotswold Friends has over 350 volunteer roles filled and supports up to 2,000 older and vulnerable people in the North Cotswolds with a diverse range of services.  Cotswold Friends is proud to have served the local community for so long and even prouder of all the volunteers throughout the last forty years, whose selfless donation of time and effort has made such a difference to so many people’s lives.

Myra Whitehouse, original member of the VHC Steering Committee, was welcomed as guest of honour for the day.  Myra gave a lovely speech within which she said “…The joy of volunteering is to be able to offer something to somebody else and you get things back, and this enriches your life as much as you are enriching somebody else’s…”  Myra raised a toast to Cotswold Friends and cut the specially designed birthday cake.  Cotswold Friends would like to thank Lapstone Barn for donating the venue, Aldi and Budgens for the food and drink, Kate Hunter for the birthday cake, Christine Ramsey for the flower arrangements and Louise Bowles for the professional photography. Without these generous donations the event would not have been possible.  If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, Cotswold Friends would love to hear from you.  Please contact Sheryl Murray on Tel: 01608 697007, email:sheryl@cotswoldfriends.org or visit the website at www.cotswoldfriends.org  Contact Information: Cotswold Friends, Moreton Area Centre, High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 0AZ.  Tel: 01608 651415,  Email: info@cotswoldfriends.org,

 

Response to Overtourism

Having read the article Too many Tourists? Overtourism I am staggered by the many inaccuracies and opinion set as fact,where to start?

Of coarse overtourism is a subjective term and it is a shame A N Other would not put a name to their findings, what some regards as being too busy others would regard as successful.   I note the reference to Blackpool of the Cotswold’s as if this is a bad thing which suggests a certain elitist ideal, as regarding whether the number of tourists in Bourton has crossed a threshold it is again just a subjective opinion as is the calculation on the number of people in cars and coaches, however what is not subjective is the number of shops and related businesses owned and managed by Bourton Residents.   I did a walk through today and counted 33, yes 33, ( not just one) and that is only the ones I know, there could be more I am not sure of the ownership of.  The amount of tea rooms was 17 (not 27 ) .

As regards solutions I note that one of your contributors found it difficult to park at the Church, there is a car park behind the Church for their exclusive use, but if you plan of closing all the car parks came to fruition then presumably that would not be available.

Your solutions of closing everything would lead to a huge downturn in all trade in Bourton and see many businesses close and local people being put out of work, so as I said in my letter to the Browser be careful what you wish for.

Regards

Martin Macklin

Too many tourists? Overtourism

My name is David Hutchman and this is a follow up to my previous article ‘Too Many Tourists’. For this article it has been renamed, Overtourism and this comes about from  A.N.Other who responded to my article. In their email to me they went into some detail for which I am grateful. It included the following explanation.

 What is overtourism?
In short, overtourism occurs when there are too many visitors to a particular destination. “Too many” is a subjective term, of course, but it is defined in each destination by local residents, hosts, business owners and tourists. When rent prices push out local tenants to make way for holiday rentals, that is overtourism. When narrow roads become jammed with tourist vehicles, that is overtourism. When wildlife is scared away, when tourists cannot view landmarks because of the crowds, when fragile environments become degraded – these are all signs of overtourism.

Why is it happening?
The travel industry, like many others, focuses almost exclusively on growth, with little or no concern for the impacts. After decades of virtually uncontrolled growth, it has crossed a threshold: in many destinations, tourism now demonstrably creates more problems than benefits. This can take many forms; perhaps a million additional tourists are arriving in a capital city, or 20 additional tourists in a small, rural community. Overtourism is not just a big city issue; it has been documented in wilderness areas and national parks, and in places such as the Isle of Skye. 

 Like A.N.Other, I and many contributors also think that the number of tourists has crossed a threshold – where it is detrimental to the people who actually live here. It’s interesting that now the tourists themselves are complaining, which is something people had not considered.

Far from being the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ (have you ever heard a resident call it that? Neither have I), it’s now more like Disneyland or as others have referred to it ‘Blackpool of the Cotswolds’.

In every email, letter and face to face meetings with villagers, they all refer to this overtourism as I now refer to it. There is general consternation about the very high number of coaches, mini buses and cars that are now trying to squeeze into this quite small village. I did a rough count of available parking spaces and assumed 60 passengers per coach, and 3 persons per car. This was the result:-

Station Road garage Coach and car park 

Maximum of 30 spaces for coaches = 30 x 60 = 1800 passengers.

325 car parking spaces = 975 people

Rissington Road Car Park 229 spaces = 690 people.

Station Road Field (opposite garage) 880 car movements in one day = 2640 people

From this can be seen that at any one time there can be up to  6105 visitors entering the village. However, this does not take into account the following parking available at the following:-

Cotswold School

Bourton Cricket club

British Legion

The High Street

Station Road

Then add into this all the on street parking throughout the village which in its own right creates major problems for local people who have to endure it. Problems arising are blocked driveways, impassable roads with nose to tail visiting cars showing a totally disregard  for people living in these roads and street. A major concern raised was that of the inability of the Emergency Services not being able to access these congested roads which could put lives at risk.

I have learned that the residents of Lower Slaughter have never wanted a car park in their village and have actively opposed it over the years. The reason? They don’t want their quiet and tranquil village ‘turning into another theme park like Bourton-on-the-Water’.

I believe it has been suggested by councillors that to overcome the problem of parking it was proposed to introduce more car parking spaces!!!! How thoughtless is that.

The feeling one gets from the above is that the real aim of councillors is to look after the businesses and not the villagers. Another bit of information from one writer is as  follows:-

Somebody I know once did a survey of how many places you could get a cup of tea in Bourton. They counted twenty-seven. It’s probably more now that shops like the newsagents have closed and other cafes have opened. (I hear there is to be a third fish and chip shop soon). I was recently told that the council (I don’t know which one – presumably the Parish Council) counted how many of the shops and related businesses in Bourton are owned and managed by Bourton residents and the answer was ‘one’.

Some contributors have suggested taking these issues to the Parish Council. Again my experience and that of other who have tried this approach is it appears to have no impact. Their stock response is “it has nothing to do with us and is not part of our remit of responsibilities”. A number of people have had a very dismissive reaction from the Clerk to the Parish council. In one response it was stated -:

“After all, so many people complain about things but don’t actually want to do anything personally to make a difference, apart from complain.”

Well considering some of the feedback I have had, supposedly complaining or taking concerns  about Overtourism to The Parish Council, it is a pointless exercise as they repeatedly told local people they cannot do anything about it.

I think the saddest responses I have had are from the elderly. They agree with me about too many visitors and have stated their inability to be able to safely go into the village to go to the Chemist or the church is impossible. One stated the following-:

“The elderly who use walkers or scooters do not stand a chance to move on the pavements. The foreigners look at you with disdain and will not move and we cannot get past them.”

Another stated “ I avoid the village at all costs. No longer get my medicine from village chemist but have it delivered from Upper Rissington. Even parking to go to church is a problem. I do not want to move away but it might be the only option if things continue as they are”.

This is a sad reflection on our caring for the elderly.

So what is the answer? There have been numerous suggestion and these I will simply list as follows.

  • Reduction of coach parking spaces to  5 coaches at any one time.
  • Revoke the licence on the field car park in Station Road. Stopping parking in the field  will greatly reduce traffic congestion and improve safety for pedestrians and other road users.
  • Stop car parking in Cotswold School grounds. This will greatly reduce traffic congestion and improve safety for pedestrians and other road users
  • Disallow Bourton Cricket Club from allowing their grounds to be used as car parking. This will greatly reduce traffic congestion and improve safety for pedestrians and other road users.
  • Stop parking in British Legion car park.
  • Make all roads and streets ‘Resident only Parking’
  • Spending earmarked monies for Rissington Road car park into something worthwhile for the local people of the village e.g. cover the cost of providing permits and visitor  permits thus stopping on street parking throughout the village.
  • Ban all mini buses and coaches from the village centre as happens with Coaches.
  • Reduce the number of parking spaces on the High Street from the Undertakers to Moore Road.
  • Provide a proper Bus only layby for Pulham Coaches outside of Edinburgh Wool shop. This again will enhance safety for passengers alighting and boarding the bus.
  • Introduce permit holder only parking in the reduced parking places on the High Street. The permits provided to stop on street parking can be used for this.
  • Turn down the application for third Fish & Chip shop which will only exacerbate parking on the High Street and is not needed especially out of season.
  • Disallow any suggestion for increasing the number of car parking spaces.

These are a selection of suggestions from the local people who responded to my letter in the Bourton Browser and the Cotswold Times.

I have been in touch with several Councillors via email who have suggested meeting with me. I have agreed to meet with them, but to date none have come back with a suggested date.

Lastly, may I say a big thank you to all the people who did get back to me on this issue. In the main I think I have replied to all of you by email but for the others I am appreciative of your letters and you face to face comments.

If you wish to get back to me, my email is info@southlands-bb.co.uk or on 01451821987.

David Hutchman

Hedgehogs, Hibernation & Bonfire Safety Checks

Hedgehogs, Hibernation & Bonfire Safety Checks

Recent research by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species indicates that hedgehog populations in rural areas like ours have fallen by a shocking 50% since the turn of the last century.

This is in no small part down to the loss of habitat – the removal of hedgerows, the fencing off of our gardens, as well as the use of pesticides (this includes slug pellets), injuries from garden equipment and changes in farming methods etc.

With bonfire night and Halloween fast approaching, there’s another hazard these small creatures can fall victim to – our bonfires.

However, we can all take simple actions to ensure any hogs that we’re lucky enough to have in our area, don’t get caught up in the flames:

  • We can make sure that we only build our bonfires on the day we plan to light them and
  • We can double check hedgehogs (or other wildlife) hasn’t snuck under our ‘cosy’ wood piles before lighting them.

If building a fire in the days before it is to be lit is unavoidable, the BHPS suggest using a tight knit mesh (mess too small for creatures to get stuck in) around the lower sections of the fire and, then a couple of hours before the fire’s to start, use a blunt wooden pole (or similar) to go around the fire carefully lifting the base sections of the wood to double check that no creatures have snuck inside.

November through to March is typically when hedgehogs seek out a place to hibernate making it even more important that we check our bonfire piles ahead of our bonfire events.

If you were to find an injured or sick hedgehog, there are at least 2 local wildlife sanctuaries that offer specialist care for hedgehogs. The general guidance is that hedgehogs seen out in broad day light should be checked for to ensure they’re a healthy hibernation weight and free from injuries to ensure they have the best chance of making through the winter months.

For further information on this or other hedgehog -related questions, the BHPS website offers some excellent information and links. Closer to  home,  the following charities specialise in helping hedgehogs:

Help a Hedgehog Hospital – Stroud valleys (south west of Cirencester)

24-Hour Emergency Helpful

Tel: 01453 823 871 or 07870 378207 – Day Time AND

Tel: 01453 886 424 or 07867 974 525 – Evenings and Weekends

www.helpahedgehog.org

Oak & Furrows Wildlife Sanctuary – Cricklade (near Cirencester)

Tel: 01453 886 424

www.oandf.co.uk

Fay Vass, Chief Executive of BHPS, said “If material is stored on open ground in advance of having a bonfire, it’s crucial to dismantle it and move it to another spot just before lighting. Ensure it’s moved to clear ground – never on top of a pile of leaves as there could be a hedgehog underneath, and not too close to pampas grass which can ignite very easily and is another favourite spot for hedgehogs to hide under.”

If a large bonfire must be built in advance, protect it whilst building by putting some chicken wire, at least one-metre-high, all the way around the bottom. This should be held in place with stakes and the wire should slope outwards at an angle to make it difficult to climb, as hedgehogs are good climbers! In case you have missed anything light the fire from one side only and keep people away from the unlit side so that any hedgehogs can hopefully escape in peace.

If, whilst building, a bonfire is left unattended, for however short a time, it’s imperative to check for young children, hedgehogs and other animals, including family pets, before lighting. As hedgehogs tend to hide in the centre and bottom two feet of the bonfire, check by gently lifting the bonfire section by section with a pole or broom. Never use a spade or fork as these can stab them. Using a torch will help to see and listen for a hissing sound, as this is the noise they make when disturbed. Fay continues “If hedgehogs are found, take as much of the nest as you can and place them in a high-sided cardboard or plastic box with plenty of newspaper/old towelling. Ensure there are air holes in the lid and that the lid is secured firmly to the box, as hedgehogs are great climbers. Wear garden gloves so as not to get human smells on them and to keep them calm as hedgehogs are easily stressed – also, it protects your hands from their spikes. Put the box in a safe quiet place such as a shed or garage well away from the festivities, offer specialist hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food and water. Once the bonfire is totally dampened down, release the hedgehog under a hedge, bush or behind a stack of logs.”

 

Hedgehogs – FAQs (Source HPS website)

Are Hedgehogs meant to be out in the daylight?

Not usually no. Hedgehogs are nocturnal, which means they shouldn’t really be seen out in daylight hours. Some of the exceptions to this are pregnant females gathering nesting materials just before she gives birth, or a new ‘Mum’ taking a break from the nest to get food and water while her young sleep. Sometimes, when the nights are short, a hungry hedgehog may forage around dusk and dawn. However, these hedgehogs would move quickly with purpose. If a hedgehog is lethargic, lay out, has flies around it, is wobbly, or gives you any other cause for concern, please call us for advice ASAP on 01584 890 801.

What food should I offer to my hedgehog visitors?

The best things to offer are Hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food or complete cat biscuits. The only drink that should be offered is water (especially in dry weather and when offering dry food).

There’s a hedgehog in my garden sunbathing, is that ok?

No, it isn’t. Hedgehogs’ shouldn’t sunbathe and if you see one doing this it is in urgent need of help. Please use gardening gloves or a folded towel to pick it up, pop it into a high sided box with a towel or fleece in the bottom, keep it warm on a covered warm hot water bottle (even in hot weather), offer suitable food and water (see above) and then call BHPS on 01584 890 801 for further advice as soon as possible.

I’ve seen a hedgehog that looks ‘drunk’, is that ok?

Again, no, it isn’t ok. Hedgehogs in this state are actually hypothermic and in urgent need of help. Please offer the first aid described above and call us as soon as possible.

Do all hedgehogs have fleas and do they need them?

Not all hedgehogs have fleas; many of those rescued have none. However, hedgehogs do not NEED their fleas to survive, that’s an old wives tale. Hedgehog fleas are host specific so while they may jump onto a cat or dog, they won’t infest them.

Help! I’ve harmed a hedgehog whilst strimming.

Undoubtedly one of the most worrying calls we receive. PLEASE check areas thoroughly before strimming or mowing. These injuries are usually horrific and the hedgehog often has to be put to sleep, of course many are killed instantly with this kind of accident. Do check for hoglets as the nest you have strimmed could be a nursery nest.

I want a hedgehog for my garden; can I just take one from the wild?

No! Please don’t do this. It’s great that you want to encourage hedgehogs into your garden, but taking one from an area where it knows food and water sources to an unknown area isn’t fair. More worryingly, it could have dependent young in a nest, without its return, the nest will fail and the young won’t survive. Finally, if hedgehogs aren’t already in your garden, there might be a good reason for this. We have a leaflet available on this subject on here , or contact us for paper copy.

Legal Protection

Hedgehogs are protected, in England, Scotland and Wales, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Schedule 6 and in Northern Ireland under the Wildlife (NI) Order 1985, Schedules 6&7. What this means is they are

“(Hedgehogs are) protected from being killed or taken by certain methods under Section 11(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The methods listed are: self-locking snares, bows, crossbows, explosives (other than ammunition for a firearm), or live decoys. The species listed are also protected from the following activities: trap, snare or net, electrical device for killing or stunning, poisonous, poisoned or stupefying substances or any other gas or smoke, automatic or semi-automatic weapon, device for illuminating a target or sighting device for night shooting, artificial light, mirror or other dazzling device, sound recording, and mechanically propelled vehicle in immediate pursuit.”

 

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