Denzil has gone to Chelsea

You can view a short film about the hedgehogs and Denzil’s restoration here :

Five and a half weeks ago one of Truro’s famous wooden hedgehogs left his roundabout home in the centre of the city to have a much-needed makeover. Now, fully restored to his former glory, Denzil has gone on yet another journey – this time to the Chelsea Flower Show!

Denzil and the three other members of the hedgehog family – Kizzy, Patricia and Cecil – first moved onto the busy Trafalgar Roundabout in 2019 as part of a project developed by the Wild Truro team, Truro in Bloom and Truro City Council’s Parks Department to raise awareness of the plight of hedgehogs and make the city more wildlife friendly.

The giant wooden sculptures were designed and created by artist Emma Scott, using coppiced wood from near her studio in Mellingey Mill willow wood craft centre in St Issey.  Each one of the hedgehog’s 3,500 prickles were individually chopped, hand carved by Emma and then drilled and stitched on to chicken wire which was placed around a metal frame, the head covered with coir fibre.  The eyes of the hedgehogs were specially made from ebonised oak by Cornish Woodsmith Dominic Pearce.

“The original plan was for the hedgehogs to remain at the roundabout for 12 months “ said Richard Budge.  “But then everybody fell in love with them and begged us to let them stay “.

(Pic from Roy Curtis)

The team came up with the idea of putting the hedgehogs into hibernation –covering them up with sticks and greenery during the winter – to protect them from the elements and then bringing them out in the spring – much to the ongoing delight of residents and visitors to the city.

As well as capturing people’s imagination locally, the hedgehogs have also been featured in both the national and international press. In 2020 the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society named Trafalgar Roundabout as the best in the UK, largely as a result of the hedgehog centrepiece, praising its cute design and putting the family on the front cover of the 2020 Best of British Roundabouts Calendar.

The family have also taken part in civic events, including the Coronation of King Charles III last year when they were given crowns and flags.

(Pic From Truro School)

“In fact the hedgehogs have become quite symbolic” said Richard Budge.  “Rather than Trafalgar roundabout or the police station roundabout, as it used to be known, people now refer to it as ‘hedgehog roundabout’ .

Unfortunately, after five years on the Trafalgar roundabout experiencing wind, rain, sun and sometimes even snow, the four creatures have deteriorated, with their faces, prickles and frames all in need of some urgent repair.

“As well as having to deal with the elements, birds have been ripping off patches of the hedgehogs’ faces to use the coir fibre for their nests.” “ said Richard.  “Some of the prickles have also started to rot and are now falling off”.

Denzil arrived at Mellingey Mill at the beginning of April where Emma and her team of six helpers got to work repairing him. After 256 hours of wood cutting, wood whittling, drilling and stitching, the restoration was complete – with Denzil now looking as good as new.

Denzil is the first of the family to have his makeover and is looking forward to showing off his new look at the Chelsea Flower Show where he will be appearing as part of the celebration of 60 years of Britain in Bloom display. He left Cornwall on Monday, 13 May, accompanied by Richard, to travel to London where he is certain to win even more fans when the world-famous Flower Show opens on 21 May.

(Denzil at the Chelsea Flower Show)

On his return from Chelsea, Denzil will travel to Wadebridge where he will form part of the display the City Council are staging at the Royal Cornwall Show, to highlight the work the authority carries out in the city. He will then go back to Mellingey Mill to enable Emma to add an extra coat of protection to his prickles before joining his family again on the roundabout.

So what about makeovers for the other three members of the hedgehog family?

“We need to assess how much repairing Denzil has cost and then look at how the restoration of the remaining hedgehogs can be funded, possibly by setting up a GoFundMe page ” said Richard“We know that the hedgehogs have captured the public’s imagination and that many people want to see them restored so hopefully they will come forward with ideas and offers of support”.


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