Common toads are particular about where they breed and generally migrate back to their ancestral breeding ponds each year. They follow the same route, regardless of what gets in their way, which sometimes leads to them crossing roads.
WTP is part of a national ‘Toads on Roads’ network, run by Froglife UK, which registers these sites as migratory crossings and helps coordinate local patrols. The network has been running for over twenty years.
The council has approved and paid for ten road warning signs which are being gifted to the group and will be temporarily installed in locations along highways around the Winscombe area. It is hoped that the signs will enable road users to make a more informed choice of route between dusk and dawn, assisting the group’s work.
Filming of migrating and mating toads took place in Winscombe over the last two years for the latest Sir David Attenborough TV series ‘Wild Isles’, which started on Sunday (12 March). The sequence will be broadcast on BBC One and the BBC iPlayer within Episode 4 on Sunday 2 April at 7pm.
Councillor Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council's executive member responsible for open spaces and the natural environment, said: "I’m pleased to see that officers have been able to offer a solution with these new signs, while helping this local community group to check things like paperwork and insurance, in order to help them to carry out its important and worthwhile work.”
Colin Burbidge, Treasurer of Winscombe Hill Toad Patrol, said: “We’d like to thank officers in North Somerset Council’s Highways and Natural Environment teams for their help and support with this initiative. Thanks to the unusually cold weather, we suspect that we still have a lot of toads to move this late in their normal season. We look forward to getting the signs in place and hope that they will make a positive difference in the work that we do.”
For updates on North Somerset Council’s nature and climate work, follow Nature and Climate North Somerset on Facebook.
More information about WTP can be found on Facebook (@winscombetoadpatrol) and on the Reptile and Amphibian Group for Somerset website.