The common toad is in decline in the UK, partly as a result of deaths on roads as toads cross to spawn in the ponds from which they originated.
Toad patrols are an important way in which populations are maintained across the UK, and here in Derbyshire is no exception. In fact, Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group was first formed to co-ordinate the activities of various local toad patrollers in the 1980s and in 2011 there were twelve patrols and some visits to several other sites.
Small groups of volunteers go out on evenings during the spring and carry the toads across the road in a bucket. This not only ensures that the toads complete their journey safely, but also helps us to record vital information about the numbers and condition of animals crossing each year. We also have special toad signs which we put up during the spring to warn motorists to be careful.
If you think you can help us, please contact us to find your local patrol co-ordinator.
You can also download our latest guidance on participating in toad patrols.
If you are concerned that large numbers of toads are being killed on a road near you, please let us know.
Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group are participating in the 'Making the Adder Count' project, an initiative which was begun by the Herpetological Conservation Trust in 2005 to monitor trends in adder populations across the UK. Information about the project is at http://www.maketheaddercount.org/
Adders often hibernate in groups and use the same sites each year. In early spring, the snakes emerge and bask in the sunshine close to where they have spent the winter. We visit these sites several times to take a census of the adders and also search the landscape for new sites so that we can improve our knowledge of the distribution of adders in Derbyshire.
The group has held training days in March for volunteers to learn about adders and how to survey for them. Every year since 2007, volunteers have spotted over 20 snakes during the training day, including those pictured on this website. In 2011 the Group assisted in a research project taking DNA sample from adders across the Peak District.
Pond Conservation Work
Ponds often need maintenance work to keep them in a good condition for amphibians. This includes pulling out rubbish or invasive vegetation. This is often done during the winter when most of the ponds' inhabitants will be hibernating. We also work to create new ponds.
Great Crested Newt Surveys in the Peak District
Since 2005 the Group has been carrying out great crested newt surveys in the White Peak for the National Park Authority. These have been to locate existing ponds supporting the species and to monitor the colonisation of ponds restored by a succession of grant aided projects in the area, including the Vision for Wildlife Project and the Proliferating Ponds Project, and in more recent years work funded by the Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme.