Mini toads crossing the Marlow Road back from the pond at the Henley Business School where they have hatched to Oaken Grove Wood on the Culden Faw estate have had their path made more difficult due to the verge being dug up.
Angelina Jones who runs the Henley Toad Patrol (HTP) said, “Last week the ditch was cleared out and the debris piled on the sides yesterday. I don’t know who did the work. I’m guessing that verge is part of the public highways and maintained by Bucks CC. It would be useful to get clarification which I am trying to find out. HTP can then contact them directly to try to ensure that it doesn’t happen again during the critical times of the year when the toads are on the move.
The mini toads, smaller than a 5 pence piece have been leaving the main pond for the last 18 days and heading back into the wood. Angelina said, “During that time our volunteers have carried over 8000 (and counting) toads across the road during daylight hours. This is a new venture for us as we normally only help the migrating toads in the Spring. It has been a huge success thus far and will be something that our group will now do annually.”
“The management work would have done the toads no favours. They would have been on the move at that time and I’ve no doubt would have been killed by the spoil being excavated. Though the management work was not done maliciously the timing was very awful. This latest incident just reinforces to me just what our toads and wildlife in general are up against to make it to adulthood; traffic, predation, trampled underfoot, toxic slug pellets, loss of habitat…. And so the list goes on. HTP volunteers will continue to do all we can to give our local toad population the best possible chance of reaching adulthood and beyond. We will not this latest set back weaken our resolve to do what’s best.”
We contacted Bucks CC for a response and they said, “this patch was not their responsibility and it was Oxfordshire County Council’s”. We are awaiting a response from Oxfordshire County Council’s highway department.