Sanctuary for injured hedgehogs at Devon castle

A hedgehog

Miracle the hedgehog lost an ear when she got caught up in a wire fence

A castle in Devon has set aside an area for injured and disabled hedgehogs to live away from predators and cars.

Powderham Castle has partnered with Devon charity Prickles in a Pickle to set up the hedgehog sanctuary.

Judy Thompson, the charity’s founder, has been rescuing hedgehogs for 16 years.

Ms Thompson, a part-time NHS nurse, has about 200 hedgehogs in various facilities, including in a converted garage at her home.

Once the injured hedgehogs have been rehabilitated at the hedgehog rescue and wildlife sanctuary at Ms Thompson’s home in Stoke Fleming, they can now be released into the two-acre walled area of Powderham Castle, dubbed the Secret Garden.

Ms Thompson said Powderham Castle had taken on three hedgehogs from the charity already, with another one due to make the move after eye surgery.

Judy Thompson, founder of Prickles in a Pickle

Judy Thompson is a part-time NHS nurse, as well as what she does with her charity Prickles in a Pickle

She said: “What we need to do is make sure these little guys, when they’re well, have somewhere decent to go and live out their lives in, and give them the best possible second chance.

“Powderham is a brilliant setup.”

Ms Thompson said she now wanted to set up a purpose-built hospital and said the charity was in the process of purchasing a plot of land for it.

A hedgehog being cared for by Prickles in a Pickle

Prickles in a Pickle became a registered charity four years ago, but Ms Thompson has been rescuing the animals for 16 years

She said there would need to be a “big push” to raise money to build the hospital once the land purchase had gone through.

Ms Thompson added: “Our aim is to move the hospital from our home and get it into a purpose-built building, which will give us a better space to work, enable us to take more, enable us to do some more education, which is vital, and also get our house back.

Ms Thompson said the two most important things people could do to accommodate hedgehogs in their gardens were to create holes in their fences to allow the creatures to get through, and to put a dish of water out for them throughout the year.

She said “the main problem” for hedgehogs was humans and loss of habitat.

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