Category Archives: Wildlife

Hedgehogs on the Allotments

Louise Lees, one of our plotholders, has written this excellent article on how we can help hedgehogs

Helping Hedgehogs on the Allotments.

Calling all allotment holders! Have you seen a hedgehog on the allotments? If so, I would love to hear from you! Even if there have been no actual sightings of hogs on the allotments, there is a good chance that they are present and it would be great to hear about your sightings.
As a Hedgehog Champion for Hedgehog Street, a scheme run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, I am passionate about trying to improve the lot of hedgehogs in my neighbourhood and it is in this capacity that I have written this small piece for the Allotment Society website.
Since the 1950s the UK hedgehog population has been declining and surveys by several leading wildlife organisations indicate that we appear to have lost over half our hedgehogs from our countryside since the millennium alone and have lost a third from our towns and cities.


Image from the hedgehog street website:
Whether as allotment plot holders, or as gardeners, we can all play a part in aiding the recovery of these wonderful creatures and here’s how:-

• Avoid garden chemicals where possible. Slug pellets are not to be used unless the container states that they are safe for hedgehogs. Pellets base on metaldehyde can prove fatal to hedgehogs that consume poisoned slugs and also reduce the insects and molluscs that form the bulk of the hedgehog’s diet.
• Always check areas of long grass and vegetation before strimming. Strimmers can seriously maim or kill hedgehogs and other creatures such as Slowworms.
• Be careful when turning your compost heap in case a hedgehog or slowworm is in residence!
• Always check piles of wood and brash before lighting bonfires. If the pile has been there for a while, you may have a resident hedgehog.
• Tie down fruit and vegetable netting securely and make sure it is taut. Hedgehogs and birds can get tangled in netting and may injure themselves or starve before they are discovered.
• Avoid leaving rubbish around your plot. Pieces of wire, plastic or glass can injure hedgehogs and other wildlife.I have rescued a starving hedgehog with its head jammed in an empty yoghurt pot (Bob Gomes)
• Provide a small, shallow bowl of clean water from which animals can drink.
• If you can, provide a small area of long grass and wildflowers within the boundaries of your plot or strim less around the plot to attract invertebrates that provide food for hedgehogs and birds. You will be rewarded as these creatures will consume common pests and a natural order will be established.

• Above all, enjoy your allotment and its wildlife!

There is also a link to the Hedgehog Street website:- where you can find all manner of helpful resources on how to help hedgehogs and you can also report your hedgehog sightings on this interactive map:-

Thank you, Louise Lees

Willow Emerald damselfly discovered on the Allotment

The Willow  Emerald Damselfly was first discovered in the UK in 2007 in East Anglia and has since spread to a number of sites in southern England, including some sites in North and East Kent. On  29th August I found an individual perched on a willow bush opposite my allotment and have since seen several others, including one female egg laying. As far as I am aware, this is the first occurrence on the allotments and possibly the first record for Faversham town.


The distinctive features are the metallic green body with wings raised at an angle when perched, the brown eyes, the pale wing spots with a dark border and the spur shaped mark on the side of the thorax. Willow-Emerald-thorax The Willow Emerald Damselfly is normally found near ponds, canals and slow flowing waters with overhanging trees. It is unique in the UK owing to its behaviour and  spends a lot of the time basking in the sun, perched on trees over water.

Willow Emerald Damselfly females lay eggs into the bark of willow and alder trees. The egg laying leaves distinctive scars on the bark of the twigs.The eggs overwinter and then in the spring the nymphs hatch and fall into the water below. This behaviour is quite different to our other UK damselflies that lay their eggs into submerged aquatic or emergent  plants within the water.


It is a late emerging species, with most records between July and October, so keep an eye out for it in the coming months. All photos by Bob Gomes

Some Early Spring Bees

As the spring progresses we can look forward to seeing more insects on the wing on warm sunny days, though we are a tad short of these at present! This article describes some of the first bees to appear in spring. The next will feature spring butterflies.

In mild winters the first bumblebees may be seen as early as late February but in most years the majority of queens that have hibernated during the winter emerges in March and April. The Buff-tailed Bumblebee (above) and the Large Red-tailed Bumblebee are two species that are the earliest to emerge and both may be seen on the allotments now. The Buff-tailed Bumblebee has dull yellow bands across the middle of the body (on the front of the thorax and abdomen) and a buff tip to the tail. The Large Red-tailed Bumblebee queen has a black body apart from the last few segments of the body that are red, hence the name. Continue reading Some Early Spring Bees