A worrying statistic was revealed this week – 57% of us never see a hedgehog these days, according to a national survey carried out by BBC’s Gardeners’ World magazine.

That compares to half the population only two years ago and experts reckon that there are now only 750,000 left in the UK.

However, it allowed activists and the writers of the report to once again point the finger of blame at farming for the alarming decline. The ‘spread of farmland’ has been blamed by the ‘experts’ and while that might have been the case 30 or 40 years ago, it certainly is not the case now. Hedgerows and coppices have never been more plentiful on farms.

Unfortunately, those who make such statements are not so keen to point the digit at the well-known predators of hedgehogs, badgers and foxes, which have spread exponentially in recent years. Funny how farming bears the brunt of tree-huggers’ misinformation again and furry animals with lots of teeth don’t?

Love in the wild

A GAY sheep farmer, a divorced dairy farmer and an equine vet, all featured in BBC 2’s new Wednesday night’s series, ‘Love in the Countryside’ – a follow-up to the highly acclaimed Farmer Wants a Wife, the Bafta-nominated ITV series which was aired first in 2001.

This new programme is being presented by farmer’s daughter, Sarah Cox, with the programme-makers hoping for some culture-clash tension as they match rural singletons with city dwellers.

“Cows are probably better behaved than women,” said divorced 52-year-old dairy farmer, Pete, from North Yorkshire, who blamed his remote location for the lack of a partner – and not the fact that he sports a shirt that doesn’t look like it’s been near a washing machine for a decade.

Sheep farmer Richard (39) said that being gay made his search for love in Dumfries and Galloway much harder, while Heather, a 28-year-old equine vet, also from North Yorkshire, thought that her love of horses is responsible for her single status.

Will they find the perfect match? Well if you missed this week’s episode, you’ll have to tune in next week to see!

It’s a load of old tat!

HIGHLAND cattle breeders are conducting a major investigation to find out what the normally shy and retiring Matt Auld is hiding.

Someone has let the cat out of the bag that Matt – the stockman for the Pollok fold of Highland cattle owned by Glasgow City Council – recently got a tattoo to match his wife Morag’s. However, nobody yet knows what it is, or where it is.

This is leading to speculation that some delicacy may be required in finding it. We are sure that some of the nosier gits in the breed will find out soon and we will let you know the outcome.