- The hedgehog initiative has been pioneered by the Duke of Marlborough
- Last year he adopted 22 hedgehogs and released them at Blenheim Palace
- He has been battling to save and treat injured hedgehogs since 1993
They already boast magnificent architecture, priceless works of art and spectacular grounds.
And now some of Britain’s grandest stately homes are welcoming a new addition: rescued hedgehogs.
Scores of the creatures are being released into historic estates such as Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, and the late Princess Diana’s childhood home at Althorp.
The initiative has been pioneered by the Duke of Marlborough, who last year adopted a batch of 22 from the Andrew Hedgehog Hospital charity for the 12,500 acres of Oxfordshire countryside around 187-room Blenheim Palace.
Scores of hedgehogs are being released into historic estates such as Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, Alnwick Castle in Northumberland
The once-wayward Duke, who battled drug addiction in his youth, is now the patron of the charity that has been rescuing and treating injured or orphaned hedgehogs since 1993.
This year, with his encouragement, a growing number of other stately homes are following suit, with the 13,000-acre Althorp estate in Northamptonshire taking 22 last week. Earl Spencer said that he hoped the grounds where his sister Princess Diana is buried would provide ‘a quiet habitat’ for the creatures.
Next week, the 3,000 acres around Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire will take in a similar number.
Frank Tett, the 78-year-old who founded the hospital at his home near Scunthorpe, said the grounds of stately homes were ideal as they provided plentiful foraging and nesting material, privacy for the mammals and an absence of badgers, their main predator.
Chatsworth House is one of the stately homes where resuced hedgehogs are being released