MORE than 150 pupils at a York school have created a hedgehog sanctuary to help save the species.

Lord Deramore’s dead hedge project is part of the Green Impact Scheme's 'Hedgehog-friendly school gold award' and comes just in time for Hedgehog Awareness Week from May 2 to May 8.

Hedgehogs are in rapid decline as a species.

From collecting sticks, stacking each one to form the dead hedge and installing hedgehog highway signs, children have built an important eco infrastructure around one of the school's beautiful oak trees, estimated to be between 180-200 years old.

The school received support from BEM's Gordon Eastham, grounds maintenance manager, and the University of York to make the school grounds more hedgehog friendly.

Sam, 11, said: “It’s great that we are helping all the animals in our school grounds and it’s somewhere safe for them to be."

While Maisie, 10, said: “Layering up the sticks was great because we were able to see it grow.”

As the school looks to achieve the award, it is embarking on a number of different challenges. From litter picks, introducing measures to ensure the safety of hedgehogs to providing a sanctuary on site, it is hoped these actions will create real change.

11-year-old Jessica said: "We enjoyed the challenge of pushing the hedgehog highways through the dead hedge."

Helen Smith, year six teacher at Lord Deramore’s School, told the Press: "Hedgehogs are in rapid decline and it is great that we have been able to do something to help reverse this through practical, outdoor activities which the children have enjoyed and have great pride in.

"The dead hedge really is something quite special for so many reasons and we are delighted with the children’s involvement and the finished hedge, complete with signage and hedgehog highway tunnels."