Castle Howard has played host to some exceptional guests in the past; the cast of Brideshead Revisited, indie sensation the Arctic Monkeys and Queen Victoria herself to name just a few, but this year sees the historic house welcome an altogether different kind of guest. Rather spiny with a real wild side and questionable table manners, yes we’re talking about hedgehogs! Castle Howard has teamed up with charity Hoggies Respite to provide a safe and welcome home to hogs in need.
This partnership comes at a crucial time for hedgehogs. Their numbers have declined dramatically over the last 10 years and with fewer than 1 million thought to be left in the UK, these endearing creatures are disappearing from our countryside.
However, help is at hand and the small but dedicated team at Hoggies Respite are busily working to help our hedgehogs get back on their feet. With over 190 sick and injured hedgehogs rehabilitated and released back into the wild in 2018 alone, their work plays a vital part in conserving this iconic species.
Maggie Farmer is one of the founders of Hoggies Respite, ‘every hedgehog needs a home and with acre upon acre of hedgerows, woodland and parkland, Castle Howard is the perfect release site for rehabilitated hogs. It’s fantastic to know that our hedgehogs will find a safe home here and hopefully help populations thrive.’
Now in their 5th year, Hoggies Respite and their volunteers are working round the clock to care for mothers and their young who have become too vulnerable to make it on their own. Among the hedgehogs to be released at Castle Howard are orphans Fred, Ginger and Edd as well as Mama Mama, a strong mother hedgehog with 6 little hoglets.
James Holliday, Estate Manager at Castle Howard, said, ‘we are thrilled to be part of the excellent work done by the team at Hoggies Respite. Our natural landscape and the wildlife that live here are just as important as the historic buildings in our care and they too need conserving. We look forward to welcoming the first set of hedgehogs as they make their journey back into the wild.’