Run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), the Hedgehog Friendly Football League is for professional football clubs who think hedgehog welfare is important, and who want to make stadiums and training grounds across the country more wildlife-friendly.
The Cobblers have signed up to join the League and have pledged to promote awareness across the football community of how people can help protect hedgehogs in the wild and make green spaces – from parks to gardens - more biodiverse and welcoming for hedgehogs.
This includes putting special campaign stickers on all pitch mowing equipment to remind staff to check for hedgehogs before use, and carrying out other hedgehog-friendly actions, such as handing out information leaflets to fans and sharing BHPS advice on social media.
Fay Vass, Chief Executive of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, said: “We have been delighted at the response to this campaign from the football community and thank Northampton Town for getting involved. Whilst there may not be many hedgehogs present at Sixfields, we hope that it will save some lives by encouraging Cobblers fans to check areas before mowing and strimming, just like their team does! Hedgehog numbers are in serious decline and we need to do all we can to help them.”
As well as checking areas before cutting, BHPS has shared some top tips on what else people can do to help:
• Move piles of garden rubbish to a new site before burning it – and only build bonfires on the day they are to be lit.
• Create 13x13cm square gaps – the same size as a CD case! - at the base of boundary fences in gardens;
• Ensure all sports netting is put away after use and garden netting is kept at least 30cm off the ground, so that hedgehogs can safely pass underneath it.
• Check compost heaps before digging or turning;
• Stop using pesticides and poisons;
• Cover drains or deep holes;
• Ensure there is an easy route out of ponds and pools – such as a pebble beach or wildlife ramp;