Old Prickly

Adrian Coles (1930-2017) was fascinated by hedgehogs, like a character from AE Houseman’s A Shropshire Lad.

Hedgehog numbers in that part of England are falling. Pesticides poison them, cars run over them, and fences stop them.

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Hedgehogs featured in Beatrix Potter’s tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, the tiny lady who stole handkerchiefs. Major Coles founded the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. It had 11,00 members, including 700 carers who looked after injured animals. They put out water and food in dry weather and promoted gaps in garden fences. They also lobbied parliament and brewed ale.


The BHPS held its tenth anniversary at the Golden Cross pub in Clee Hill, Shropshire. The pub was renamed The Cross Hedgehog for the occasion and brewed Old Prickly.