Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, Herefordshire Amphibian & Reptile Team and St Michaels’s CE Primary School have received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage1 grant to help save toads around Bodenham. The project aims to involve communities around Bodenham Lake to protect the local population of this often overlooked species.
The project will raise awareness about the importance of Bodenham Lake as a breeding pond for one of the largest populations of toads in the county. In early spring, toads awake from hibernation and migrate along ancient routes to their pond where they will breed and spawn. These routes often cross roads making toads very vulnerable, often resulting in toads being squashed! The common toad is now in decline in the UK, mainly caused by such road mortalities – on average, twenty tonnes of toads are killed on UK roads each year!
The Go Toads! Community Project aims to raise local awareness through running a series of community events and monitoring the toad abundance. The Go Toads! patrol team will be out on warm damp evenings from mid-February to the beginning of March kitted out with hi-vis jackets, torches and gloves slowing down traffic and giving the toads a helping hand to cross the road safely. Training will be given to those who wish to join the Go Toads! patrol team from local herpetologist, Nigel Hand.
Go Toads! Project Officer, Hayley Herridge, commented: “this incredible wildlife event makes Bodenham Lake a real special place for wildlife in the county. We want to celebrate this and ensure the toads have a home here for a long time to come. It’s great that we have been awarded this grant and we can’t wait to get started. We will be recruiting volunteers to help with evening toad patrols from the end of February so we hope lots of people will be keen to get involved.”
Vanessa Harbar, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, West Midlands said: “Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that Go Toads! Community Project can embark on a real journey of discovery. Heritage means such different things to different people, and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in their area.”
The project’s launch event will take place on Saturday 13th February, 10 – 12 pm at Bodenham Village Hall. Call in and find out more about the project and how to get involved or contact Hayley Herridge at firstname.lastname@example.org / 01432 356872