HISTORY OF HORNBEAM WOOD HEDGEHOG 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 original pens and cages.


Grahame Dangerfield was a involved with the rescue of Wildlife. He was also an author and broadcaster, and presenter. In the 1960s he was one of the first British television naturalists, and was largely involved with rescued British wildlife.


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 and passed away on 13th July 2018 at the age of 80.

Grahame returned to England very briefly some years ago as he was undergoing medical treatment.  Martin who had also at the time recently returned from working and living in Africa, was very fortunate to have spent a little time with Grahame before his death. They both watched birds together at the Sanctuary that were in the same nest boxes Grahame had put up in the late 1980s.

 

When Martin was a child In the 1980's he worked at the family smallholding tending goats, cows, pigs, chickens, and ducks. Living close to Grahame in Wheathampstead 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.

 

As a child, Martin started to rescue local Wildlife including one of the Queens Swans in 1981. He rescued the Swan from the River Lea in Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire. Martin was very honoured to have received a letter sent to him from the Lady-in-waiting, on behalf of the Queen.

 

A few years later in 1988, Martin rescued his first British Wild Hedgehog and embarked on a mission to help the hedgehogs. Assisting his mother (Harriet), the two them began with making their garden Hedgehog friendly, helping local Wild Hedgehogs.

Martin also enjoyed watching wildlife shows on TV and saw a program filmed at the House of Commons. He contacted the House of Commons to let them know what he had also been doing to help the hedgehogs. At the age of 12, Martin invited Robert B. Jones, M.P. to visit his new Hedgehog friendly garden and received this letter.

 

Martin spent a lot of time helping Grahame Dangerfield during the 1980's with rescued wild animals that were saved and cared for.


After being contacted by The Wildlife Hospital Trust in 1988 (now known as www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk) with a raft of information sent to him about how to help local Wild Hedgehogs, he went on to spread awareness to local residents in Wheathampstead with a view to encourage others to also help the hedgehogs. He did this by promoting ways people could help the hedgehogs by making their gardens Hedgehog Friendly.

 

Later in life Martin moved abroad working and living in various countries including the United States of America, Canada, and Africa. He returned to England around 2013 and moved back to his home town in Hertfordshire.

Martin, now runs Hornbeam Wood Hedgehog Sanctuary continuing on from Grahame caring for wildlife, concentrating on British Wild Hedgehogs.  Working with The British Hedgehog Preservation Society, The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, and local Councils. He also encourages the next generation to help the hedgehogs through educational and awareness talks to groups of children from Schools, Scouts, and Girlguiding.

 

G Dangerfield's Animal Hospital - Colour Pics (1962)

 

G Dangerfield's Animal Sanctuary - Colour Video (1964)

 

G Dangerfield's Private Zoo (1970-1975)

 

Dangerfield Animal Hospital 1962

Naturalist, Graham Dangerfield at home in Hertfordshire.

 

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It is important to note that the photos you see of hedgehogs on this website are taken while a hedgehog is in rehabilitation and DO NOT reflect the natural habit of a wild hedgehog. They are nocturnal.

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