The Clerk in the Country

Friday 26th November 2021

Shelter from the storm

Our November newsletter, just issued, contains a report from Steve Williams of York Museums Trust about his plans to make the Museum Gardens more welcoming for wildlife with, for example, hedgehog-sized holes in fences and piles of wood suitable for hibernation.

That there have long been hedgehogs around here is suggested by a nearby field being named “Urchin Forrest” on the 18th century enclosure map, “urchin” being an old name for hedgehogs or, considering the sea creature, perhaps an old name for spiny sphere.

Because they are nocturnal, sightings of live hedgehogs are rare but droppings on the garden path testify to their continuing presence.  One evening a few weeks ago, returning home in near darkness, I got out of my car and almost tripped over a ball, which I was fairly sure hadn’t been there when I drove in.  As I fumbled for my torch, the ball developed a pointed nose then, cautiously, four feet.  I kept completely still and the little creature ambled away quite happily.  As Storm Arwen rages while I write, I hope it has found a safe hibernation spot in its own pile of wood.

Members should either have already received their newsletter by email or will have it in the next day or two by post.  Non-members who are interested in Steve’s article and other YPS news can find it here.