Autumn is a busy time in the garden for wildlife, as hibernating creatures such as hedgehogs prepare for the winter months ahead.

But our prickly friends are, sadly, in disastrous decline, due to the loss of hedgerows and permanent grasslands, the intensification of agriculture and the use of pesticides which reduce the amount of prey available.

Urban and suburban areas have become increasingly important for hedgehog survival, but the move towards tidy, sterile gardens has also contributed to their demise. Numbers have fallen by more than a third over the last ten years.

But help is at hand for these snuffly little creatures, as The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) have put together a free, seasonal guide on how to make your garden hedgehog friendly.

The A-Z of Autumn Hedgehog Tips shows that creating a welcoming environment doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming, and offers advice and easy practical tips for all the family, green fingered or not.

Henry Johnson, hedgehog officer at PTES, said: “Autumn can be a fairly frantic time in the garden for humans and wildlife alike, as the mild weather means there’s still time to prepare for the harsh months ahead.

“My top tip to help hedgehogs this autumn is to link up your garden with your neighbours’, by making sure hedgehogs can pass between boundaries through small gaps or holes in fences. They can then forage for food, store up their fat reserves, and find suitable shelter before going into hibernation.”

The guide is an extension to the joint PTES and BHPS project Hedgehog Street, which was launched in 2011 to encourage members of the public to create and link hedgehog-friendly gardens.

Since then, more than 28,000 volunteers have registered to become Hedgehog Champions.

The organisations are also funding several research projects looking into the causes of hedgehog decline and trialling more accurate monitoring methods.

Here are three from the A-Z of Autumn Hedgehogs Tips:

H is for Hibernacula, the nests in which hedgehogs will hibernate. These can be in log piles, compost heaps, patches of brush or in a specially built hedgehog nest box.

O is for Old and decaying wood. Creating a wood pile in your garden will provide an important habitat for insects, which hedgehogs can feed on, but also a safe, secure site for nesting.

G is for Gardens, a great habitat for hedgehogs. With almost half a million hectares of gardens in Britain, they are an important refuge.

Visit for your free copy of the complete guide.