Conservationist, Artist, Social Reformer, Writer and Teacher


Sewing up a spiny Easter

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Hordes of hedgehogs emerging from their winter sleep are planning to shuffle back into hiding for one more snooze at Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House in Wisbech.

More than 50 friendly fluffballs and pottery poppets of all shapes and sizes – some involved in activities such as gardening – are set to roll up and play hide and seek at the home of the co-founder of the National Trust at 7 South Brink, with a little help from a team of volunteer stitchers and tweakers who have been lending a helping hand.

During ‘Easter Hunt the Hedgehog’ on Sunday, April 16 an array of the ancient mammals will be tucked away in secret hidy-holes.   Three will be in each of the Birthplace House’s 13 display rooms.   The outdoor types will hide in makeshift nests around the new Golden River Adventure garden.

Primary school aged children are invited to crack this prickly seasonal puzzle.   The winner – the youngster with the highest hedgehog count  – will receive a large Easter egg.   Smaller eggs and other prizes can be won by the other contestants.

Admission is free for up to three children with each accompanying adult.   The concessionary rate for the grown-ups who bring the youngsters is £3.50.

The Birthplace House opens its doors at 1pm on Easter day, with last admissions at 4pm, and the happy young hedgehog hunters will have until 5pm to complete their task of snouting around.

Mr Peter Clayton, chairman of the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum Trust, said:  “Hedgehogs are very special to Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House because they were a family symbol of John Kyrle from  Ross-on-Wye, ‘the Man of Ross’.   Octavia named her Kyrle Society after him.   This was the forerunner of all civic societies in this country and the National Trust itself.”

The hedgehog operation is just one example of the ways in which willing helpers can provide hands-on assistance at Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House.   Typical duties include manning the Tea Room and the Gift Shop, as well as general stewarding, and briefing sessions are being arranged for new volunteers, who do not need to know anything about history or Octavia Hill.   Anyone interested should email info@octaviahill.org or telephone 01945-476358 for further information.