Products of Change


Mon 27 Mar 2023 | by Rob Hutchins

The RHS' latest partnership highlights importance of Hedgehog Highways in Britain

The Royal Horticultural Society has decided to lend hedgehogs a helping hand when it comes to garden-to-garden travel through the official endorsement of some certified hedgehog-friendly fencing. Developed by the family-owned British independent, Jacksons Fencing, an expert in garden fencing, gates, and accessories for the last 75 years, the hedgehog-friendly gravel board has been created to help fight the decline of Britain’s hedgehog population. Hedgehogs depend on being able to move between gardens in search of food and mates for their survival. Hedgehogs are now listed as ‘vulnerable’ on Britain’s red list of mammals with a population currently in decline. In the past 20 years numbers have fallen by up to 30% in urban areas and 50% in rural areas. There is no single cause for the decreasing numbers of hedgehogs in the UK, but contributing factors include habitat loss to urban development and rural hedgerow removal and habitat fragmentation through the lack of connectivity thanks to impermeable fencing in gardens. To help their plight, the RHS has endorsed the new gravel board fencing product from Jacksons Fencing for providing a free and safe passage between gardens. It’s a small change but one that could have a positive impact on the garden-friendly animals helping them avoid roads where some 335,000 hedgehogs are killed by traffic each year. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society lists these ‘hedgehog highways’ among the top five actions we can take to support the survival of these British mammals. The group even suggests people register their hedgehog highway at as part of the Hedgehog Awareness Week activity running from 30 April to 6 May. The RHS endorsement will be highlighted online and in Jacksons’ literature. The brand has officially endorsed two further fencing products from Jacksons – the Shadowline and the Aran, handcrafted fence panels developed to appeal to a variety of gardeners. All three of the designs have been developed, says Peter Jackson, managing director at Jacksons, to have “the lowest impact on the environment as possible”. It’s a sentiment that is shared with the RHS who in 2021 launched its Sustainability Strategy and commitment to be net positive for nature and people by 2030. It’s the vision of the RHS to ‘enrich everyone’s life through plants and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.’ It does this not only through its RHS gardens and shows, but its science research and advisory arms, its extensive library collections, and its education and community programmes.