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Adrian Coles: An Influence for Nancy’s Blankets and Hedgehog Saint

Nancy’s Blankets was founded with many intentions, among them to prevent erosion on drainage ditches, to prevent excess nitrates from entering waterways, and to provide quality drainage to farmers everywhere. One goal makes our blankets stand out, however, and it’s the “Kritter Kind” element. Our blankets are designed to allow snakes, rabbits, turtles and other farmland creatures to escape entanglement.

We’re certainly not the first who has sought to protect agricultural animals, however.

Adrian Coles was a council member in Clee Hill, a rural English village, however he found his true life calling during the ‘80s amid a chance encounter. His daughter came running, informing him that a hedgehog had become stuck under a cattle grid.

Cattle grids, also known as cattle guards in the United States, are grates that are placed strategically over ditches or intentional dips in a road. These grids allow humans or vehicles to pass safely, however farm animals are unable to cross because their hooves would fall through the gaps in the grate.

Unlike erosion control blankets, animals like snakes and chipmunks would be able to clamber out of the cattle grid trench easily. Hedgehogs, a common critter across the pond in the UK, are not so lucky. Their spherical anatomy and short legs made escape impossible. If a hedgehog were to fall through a hole in the grid, it would be unlikely to escape.

Coles had this realization as he rescued the fortunate hedgehog that his daughter discovered. He wondered if there was a way to prevent unfortunate circumstances like this.


His idea was simple, and effective.

He designed a wooden ramp, with a slight 20 degree slope, that could be placed at the corner underneath a cattle grid. This allowed the awkward animals to waddle up and escape. As a council member, he convinced the government in his county to install these ramps under all cattle grids; after all, hedgehog populations had been dwindling.

His idea took off and he became a virtual patron saint for hedgehogs, promoting proper pesticide use to protect his spiny friends, while founding the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. He retired from leading the group at the age of 85, leaving it with more than 11,000 members.

Coles passed away in March, at the age of 86. He has given all of us something to aspire to.

Nancy’s Blankets has always been proud to offer the most nature-friendly erosion control blankets and it fills us with hope, knowing that there are others in the world who have been pursuing similar goals for decades.

Never be afraid to innovate, and always look to make a positive difference in this world. Thank you, Adrian Coles, on behalf of all who share your ideals.

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