Award winning sustainable company honours its ‘green pledge’ with new hedgehog houses
Award-winning Derbyshire sustainable outdoor furniture company TDP Ltd has launched a new hedgehog house to help protect these endangered creatures in time for hibernation season.
TDP, a Wirksworth-based company which makes outdoor furniture from recycled plastic, has created its new hedgehog house after company owner Rob Barlow made a ‘green pledge’ at a young person’s environmental meeting last year.
Rob was speaking at the Midlands Engine Young People’s Green Growth Assembly in March 2022 where he shared his passion for a more sustainable future with a room full of 15-19 year-olds.
Asked to give his ‘green pledge’ on the day, Rob said TDP would be expanding its nature range. He said he was now very proud to be launching the company’s new hedgehog house, which has been designed according to British Hedgehog Preservation Society guidelines on how best to entice the prickly creatures to bed down for the winter.
Numbers of hedgehogs in the UK have dramatically declined in recent years with degradation of habitat due to urban spread and hedgerow loss being two major contributory factors.
Rob said the hedgehog house prototype had needed to be tested over a period of a whole year to check that the recycled plastic used to make it would not cause the temperature inside to be too high for hedgehogs.
He said: “I’m pleased to say that our hedgehog house did not overheat, even in the 40 degree heat we had last summer. In fact, the insulating property of recycled plastic means the hedgehog house will keep warmer during the winter months. I made a green pledge at the Green Growth Assembly and I’m very proud to say our new hedgehog house is our way of honouring it.”
The Hedgehog Preservation Society recommends that hedgehog houses are placed with their entrance away from the north or east – to avoid cold winds – and in a quiet, shady, sheltered and dry spot in the garden. It also recommends not putting food inside a home since hedgehogs do not tend to sleep and eat in the same place. Food should only be put in the house as a way of tempting hedgehogs in at first.
Rob said: “My wife and I spotted a hedgehog in our garden this October for the first time in 22 years. We’ve taken one of our hedgehog houses home and it would be great if it could be a home for a hedgehog this winter. We’ll be putting up a camera nearby so we can monitor whether it is used.”
He added: “The loss of habitat has been a major cause of the dramatic decline in hedgehogs in the UK so this is our way of trying to help by providing a very sustainable option that needs no maintenance and will last for many years.
Preserving the environment is at the heart of what we do at TDP and I’m pleased to be launching our hedgehog house range in time for the hibernation season.”
TDP is a corporate member of nature conservation charity Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.
Speaking about hedgehog houses, Emma Davenport, partnerships officer at the trust added: “The once common hedgehog is now under threat from development and habitat loss caused by the reduction of hedgerows and increase in intensification of our agricultural landscapes, so a hedgehog home is a great way to offer a hibernation site for hedgehogs during winter and a nesting site for a mother and her hoglets in the spring.
You can make sure hedgehogs can access your garden via a gap in the wall or fence of at least 13cm and leave an area of your garden wild for shelter, protection and natural foods. And you can also leave a shallow dish of fresh water, but never use milk as hedgehogs are actually lactose intolerant!”
TDP won a King’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainability this year for its commitment to the environment. With its range of garden and outdoor furniture such as benches, planters and picnic tables made using recycled plastic, the company has saved thousands of tonnes of plastic from having gone into landfill, and prevented millions of kilograms of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere too.