Lift the toad from the road...

About four weeks ago, a curious thing happened in our hamlet. These signs appeared at either edge of the main road that connects us to the rest of the world. At first, and I confess, in a rather ‘townie’ way, I thought they were a joke, but then we received a note through the letterbox from a neighbour asking us to help the local toads on their annual love fest…

It appears our part of the West Oxfordshire countryside is slap bang in the middle of an ancient toad migration site and each February or March, the toads who normally spend their time in the hedges and woodland on one side of the village, decide its time to crawl (not hop, apparently) across to the other side of the village to their traditional breeding pond, in enormous numbers. All would be fine presumably, if there wasn’t now a road in between the toads’ winter residences and their destination, and if they weren’t prone to attempting this journey at night, and often at rush-hour. How much simpler that migration must have been back in 1699 when our cottage was built (yes, apparently these migrations can date back that far!).

Anyway, last year, our neighbours helped 99 toads cross the road and although I’ve yet to see a toad on his or her way to their love fest, there is a definite croaking in the night air at the moment. You can read more about ancient toad migrations on Doug Mackenzie Dodd’s blogpost and if you’re REALLY interested, you can see an interactive toads on roads map here.