I decided in 2008 that I was fed up with living in the town and wanted to move back to the countryside where I had spent my teenage years. I was looking for a smallholding so I could have chickens and let the children grow up with more space. Prickly Ball Farm in Ogwell, Newton Abbot came up for sale after a few weeks and after selling everything we owned, we managed to purchase it a year later.
We planned to build a campsite there as it was a beautiful site and I knew nothing of hedgehogs then. There had been a few hoglets overwintering which I cared for, for a few more weeks until they were ready for release. Suddenly in June, we were inundated with sick, orphaned and injured hedgehogs coming in. I had fallen in love with the species already so decided I needed more knowledge and attended many courses on wildlife rehabilitation.
Whilst living at the farm, we converted it to the Devon Wildlife Centre that took in all other injured wildlife at a separate hospital on site, we worked 18 hours a day maintaining a shop, café, petting farm, wildlife hospital, hedgehog hospital and campsite. Over the period of 4 years, about 2000 hedgehogs were admitted but sadly, we had to sell in 2013 as my partner became ill.
In 2014, I missed looking after the hedgehogs so set up from home with the same high quality enclosures that I had bought at the farm fitted into the garage. I have cared for over 4000 hedgehogs since 2009, but this is only a small portion of those that need help. There is no government funding for wildlife rehabilitation so there are only a few carers that can offer this service.
I have left my full-time job to look after the hedgehogs and made South Devon Hedgehog Hospital a registered charity in hope that I may find funding the hospital a bit easier. (Registered charity number 1182659)
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