Helping hedgehogs thrive in Hove

This guest post comes from Becky Walton, who helps run the community group HK Hedgehogs. Here Becky tells us about their efforts to make every street in Hove a hedgehog haven, and how camera traps are helping monitor their movements…

HK Hedgehogs is a community group on a mission to reverse the decline of the nation’s favourite animal. Based in Hove, East Sussex, we ran a hedgehog monitoring project with local residents in Autumn 2015, using four Bushnell NatureView HD Essential cameras. This was our first venture into using camera traps, but the results showed some great hedgehog activity, as well as lots of lovely fox footage and a couple of unusual and funny finds…

12 residents’ gardens were monitored with the cameras during the project, for five day periods, using a mixture of stills and video. Three of the 12 revealed hedgehog visitors and highlighted how connecting our gardens and creating the right habitat are the keys to helping them thrive.


Click for video

NatureSpy’s iWild North Wales project has just come to an end, one year and over 3,200 wildlife records later – and the final report is available online now.

It’s been a fantastic project – visiting 17 different parks and nature reserves with local people & volunteers and finding out about the wildlife on site.

We’ve captured more than we ever thought we would and the total wildlife records are more than we expected – 37 different species of birds and mammals were also picked up by the camera traps.

The below video shows the best bits from the project’s camera traps…

iWild Bishops WoodNatureSpy’s 6 iWild volunteers contributed an amazing 392.5 hours to the project over the year and the project could not have succeeded without them. They diligently entered every single record into Cofnod, North Wales’ Environmental Record Centre, so that the records can be used in the future to protect and study the wildlife we uncovered, as well as helping NatureSpy staff at events with setting up camera traps and engaging the public.

The camera traps also allowed us to look closer at the lives of certain animals in North Wales – whether it was the foxes that live in a small park in Flintshire, why buzzards eat worms or badger behaviour and group sizes. We could also compare activity patterns across the different counties – see the full report for more details.

The iWild project also threw up some rarely-recorded species – polecats began to show up towards the end of the project on three sites, we captured just one stoat and we even captured a video of a tawny owl hunting in Alyn Waters.

Grey squirrels were comfortably the most commonly recorded animal, with nearly 900 records, and rabbits were behind them with just over 550. However, it was a larger mammal – the badger – that took third place, with 513 records over the year. Some records are also in areas that weren’t known to have badgers so it’s been great to add them to the map and knowledge base, helping to protect them in the future.

The report includes a species inventory for each county the project visited – which shows that Wrexham had the most species (28), closely followed by Flintshire (25) and then Denbighshire (19).

Marford Quarry Ian Lucas MP

Ian Lucas MP & Simon Mills from North Wales Wildlife Trust with NatureSpy staff and volunteers

There were also species that the iWild project found no trace of – namely hedgehogs and deer – and we look into why that might be. Hedgehogs are generally more scarce in areas that have lots of badgers – and as we recorded badgers on nearly all sites, this could certainly be an applicable reason for not finding any. Hedgehogs of course hibernate too – meaning that for some of the sites, they may well have been tucked up fast asleep!

Deer are known to be scarce in many parts of North Wales due to management practices, and are only common in certain pockets. Many of the iWild sites were also quite small and close to local communities, which may have been unfavourable or unsuitable for deer species.

All the iWild sites will also shortly have signs displayed with detail of the project and what it found – so that future visitors can go online and watch the footage captured at their local patch.

Being NatureSpy’s first fully funded project we are extremely grateful to all those who have helped and supported iWild North Wales. Special thanks go to Heritage Lottery Fund, all the stakeholders invovled and of course our wonderful iWild volunteers.



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