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A toad-ally brilliant community effort!

A toad-ally brilliant community effort!

March 11, 2021

A village has rallied round to help save the local population of toads that embark on a treacherous migration every year. Elaina Whittaker-Slark, Lead Ranger for the Western Downs in Hampshire, reveals more.

Recent research from Froglife showed that common toads have declined across the UK by 68% over the past 30 years.

However, the villagers of Newton Valence are going to great lengths to protect their important migration of toads to help buck this trend.

Each year more than 1,000 toads attempt to cross Hullam Lane in Newton Valence to reach the local ponds to breed, but sadly many don’t make it. To find a solution, villagers have organised a project to install a road closure for the period of the toads’ migration.

The project has been supported by Froglife and the National Park’s Western Downs Team, as well as Hampshire County Council and East Hampshire District Council.

Toad Patrol Manager Sue Binder proudly showing off the new signs

The toads have now started their migration and the best evening so far is 71 toads crossing safely, showing the signs are already working. This is great news for nature recovery in the South Downs!

If you would like to do your bit for toads (and other wildlife) leave an undisturbed wild area in your garden with uncut grass, log piles and large stones and rocks.

If you’re a gardener you may also want to help toads in your garden as their diet consists of snails and slugs as well as ants and beetles. Toads actually live away from water and only head to ponds to breed, so you do not need a pond in your garden to attract toads. Just make sure that if you do have one there is a way out for toads (and other wildlife).

Keep an eye out for your local amphibians – you’ll know if you have a toad, rather than a frog, as they walk or crawl rather than hop.

Froglife would also like to know your sightings and you can log them here.

Photo credit: Bob Eade SWT