The charity is a family run operation with help from the local community. Setup in April 2015, Mother and son are involved on a daily basis. The charity rehabilitates Hedgehogs which are sick, injured, underweight, or need help. Over 250 Hedgehogs were released back in to the wild in 2019 and the Charity looks to match or exceed that number for this current year.
Most of the costs involved in helping the hedgehogs at the Charity are currently covered by the members but some very generous people donate both money, food, and time (the Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts, and Nine Lives Vets Redbourn) which has helped out immensely. The charity opened an online shop in August 2018 which is managed in the hope that the funds made from the sale of the products will cover some of the daily costs of running the Charity and hopefully help contribute to the future projects planned.
History of the Sanctuary
Hornbeam Wood Hedgehog Sanctuary is located on the same lands that made up Grahame Dangerfield's Animal Sanctuary and still uses many of the pens and cages. Grahame Dangerfield (died 13 July 2018) was a British naturalist, author and broadcaster. In the 1960s he was one of the first British television naturalists, and was largely involved with rescued British wildlife (Wikipedia). In 1965 Grahame left Britain to work in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. In the 1970s, he opened a private zoo at Wheathampstead. Dangerfield was the author of a number of books about nature, including The Unintended Zoo (1965) and The Rajah of Bong and Other Owls (1981). He lived in Kenya in later life. He died on 13 July 2018 at the age of 80.
Martin, who runs Hornbeam Wood Hedgehog Sanctuary now continues caring for wildlife concentrating on British Wild Hedgehogs. Working with The British Hedgehog Preservation Society and Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust Martin is doing his bit to help our British Hedgehogs. When Martin was a child In the 1980's he helped Grahame Dangerfield with the animals that where saved and cared for. Living close to Grahame as a child, Martin was often at Grahame Dangerfield's Animal Sanctuary assisting with the care of Wildlife. It was a hobby he loved and enjoyed.
Grahame returned to England very briefly some years ago as he was undergoing medical treatment. Martin was very fortunate to have spent a little time with Grahame before his death watching birds in the same bird nest boxes Grahame had put up in the late 1980s.
Here are a few old videos of Grahame at work in the 60s and 70s:
How we help hedgehogs
We help hedgehogs in the Harpenden, Hertfordshire area of the United Kingdom. We look after hedgehogs that have no place to roam, have managed to find themselves in precarious situations, are ill, or injured. We rehabilitate them until they are fit to be released. We fatten up underweight hogs that arrive at the sanctuary during the autumn/winter months so they are ready for release in the spring. We also tend to young hoglets during the spring/summer months that have lost their mothers and are orphaned or have been found abandoned, many of these still have their eyes closed.
Deliveries and rescues of hedgehogs are received from local counties Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire around the area of Harpenden. Collections are made from the public and veterinary practices in addition to the work involved in the daily care of the hedgehogs. Local residents are also in contact with the Charity and injured and found hedgehogs are frequently delivered for recovery purposes involving the medication and nurturing of them back to full health ready for reintroduction to the local countryside and gardens.
Local vets notify the Charity of hedgehogs which have undergone surgery and the Charity looks after them until they are healthy enough to be released into the wild.
What we do with income generated and donations
All income generated together with donations is used to help look after Hedgehogs such as buying food and paying for materials to build custom huts, cages, pens, hedgehog gardens, ponds, and shelters. They are also used to buy medical supplies and pay for heating and heated pads.
Some donations go to other local charity groups such as the Harpenden Scouts, Cubs, and Beavers so they can buy materials to help us with projects for the hedgehogs. Some of the income received though bookings may go to helpers who attend to help with visits.
Our future plans contemplate building a Hedgehog Education Centre, Hedgehog Nursery and Automated Hedgehog Feeding Stations, and donations will help to go towards the material costs of these projects.
We can tend to many issues that hedgehogs have such as ticks, flees, various worms, and minor injuries but we do not have a hospital and this is a priority project.
Homed disabled hedgehogs
Some hedgehogs have residence in release gardens due to them being unlikely to survive without attention such as having disabilities.
The sanctuary is set in about 10 Acres of woodlands, fields, and hedgerows. There are special pens and gardens for the hedgehogs which are protected to avoid any harm or disruption from people.
We look after and rehabilitate these hogs until they are ready to be released in to an enclosed garden. Some of these hogs have missing legs, are blind, or have other disabilities such as psychological issues. Some of them are happy to mix with other hogs and some not.
Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, and the Community
The Charity is not open to the general public as both members have other occupations and spend their free time helping the hedgehogs at the sanctuary.
The Charity has opened the sanctuary to the local Harpenden Beavers, Cubs and Scouts groups to involve themselves in the work undertaken with the hedgehogs with the future intention of expanding the operation to include the local Primary Schools once the health and safety aspects have been resolved.
Recent projects which these groups have undertaken include hedgehog boxes which were placed in the woods at the sanctuary for temporary homes for the Hedgehogs. The groups have also been involved with building of custom hedgehog cages and creating Hedgehog friendly gardens.