Gardens & wildlife

Toads on the move

2024 Toad Patrol

Toad Patrol - Would you like to learn more about amphibian behaviour? Or just join a local community-run project? Join the Cat's Creep 'toad patrol' with your neighbours! It involves no more than 20 minutes of patrolling on any night(s) you’re available across these months. See Winter 2023 issue of The Round Hill Reporter for contact details.

2023 Toad Patrol

Search the Round Hill Community Noticeboad FB Group for photos of toads on the move.

2022 Toad Patrol

For those new to things this year, in a nutshell, what's involved is popping out to the Cat Creep (the stepped alleyway that links Roundhill Crescent at the bottom, and Wakefield/Richmond Rds at the top) anytime after dusk and counting the toads/frogs/newts you see, and letting the public know of the marvelous migratory spectacle occurring literally at their feet (amphibians emerging from winter hibernation and trundling off towards their breeding ponds to find a mate - often with the male toads hitching a ride on the back of the females en route and sometimes fighting & singing!). While it's usually rare at this site to need to move any amphibians out of harm's way, what's key is to encourage the public to use a light and 'check before you step'!. (I've attached some guidance on best practice biosecurity measures and handling/moving amphibians.)

In previous years we've had between 700-800 sightings over a migration period, with numbers above 50 being seen in a single trip on the busiest nights! So it's a great excuse for a winter evening wander; kids welcome.

What you'll need: a TORCH! (the brighter the better, but don't shine it on critters for too long), note-taking equipment.

This year, I'd like to coordinate our records and site visits at THIS LINK: - please open it up and take a look :)

This will act as both a bit of a 'rota' (so folks can pop themselves down for 'slots' they can offer / let others know when they might head out, so they can team up with others if they like / and we can easily see evenings that look in need of a volunteer) - And it will also be the central place to record your sightings on return from your visit! - Just click back into the link and fill in your data! (You will all be able to edit the spreadsheet and it saves automatically, so just close it when you're done - or leave it open as you please!) Then we can watch the numbers and share tidbits as the season progresses.

Feel free to pop over to the Cat Creep as much or as little as you fancy! (e.g. we can have multiple counts on an evening if some folks would like to take a look earlier and some prefer to head out later in the evening).

Many of us are also in a WhatsApp group - please let me know if you'd like to join.

Feel free to start checking as soon as you like (though it might be a bit cool still just yet) and we'll see via the Google spreadsheet (and/or WhatsApp) when the first sightings start coming in!

Watch the YouTube video on Amphibian ID and Ecology.


In 2020 we had our first official Toad Crossing patrols, to alert people to the amphibians and to count them. At the end of their migration season over 700 toads and newts had been seen.

This year (2021) it is unlikely that groups will carry out this activity, but hopefully individuals will visit the catcreep with torch, notebook and pencil to count animals and engage with people using the catcreep (suitably distanced of course). There will be a notice at each end of the passage to alert users, but being shown the beasts can better engage people. Toads seem to have better survival skills than newts. Perhaps the newts freeze when they become aware of people, but that does not save them from being squashed underfoot, and they can be hard to see.

Please keep an eye out for these delightful amphibians, and carry a torch, or use you mobile phone lamp function. If you want to count, just head out anytime from dusk and move slowly up or down the steps peering into nooks, crannies and any weedy places, as well as scanning the path and steps. You can pass on your numbers, along with date and times you surveyed, to committee member Kate Wolstenholme

Volunteer Toad Patrollers needed.

In 2019 a number of Round Hill-ers expressed their concerns for our vulnerable local toad population, which each spring use Cats Creep to try to migrate from their hibernation spots to their breeding ponds. Members of the Round Hill Community were worried about toad (and other amphibian) casualties - being accidentally trodden on as folks navigate the steps in the dark!

Kate Wolstenholme, Round Hill Society committee member, got in touch with Froglife (leading amphibian charity) and registered the Cats Creep as an official ‘Toad Crossing’ site. As part of this, Kate is now looking for volunteer ‘Toad Patrollers’ who might be interested in helping monitor the toad crossing and continue to safeguard our green & slimy friends!

Concerned residents kindly put out signs to raise awareness and suggest people check their footing by using a torch / their phone while traversing Cats Creep at this crucial time; but wondered if there was more we could be doing to help maintain and protect the Cats Creep migration route.

‘Patrolling’ will involve:

offering your availability to be present at Cats Creep from dusk (for as long or as short a time as you can manage!) recording any amphibians you see – no prior knowledge or experience necessary! Kate will provide all the info and recording pack you’ll need maintaining ‘toad alert’ signage spreading the word to passers-by about the toads – and how they can get involved!

Eventually, Kate hopes to put together a more formal patrol team rota – if she gets enough keen volunteers! But for the time being is asking for anyone who spots a toad (or any amphibian on Cats Creep) to get in touch with her so she can start patrolling in whatever capacity she can, for this first ‘official’ toad-watch year. (Peak migration may not start until March, but can start much earlier in the year as soon as weather conditions become suitable. Many thanks indeed for any interest you have in getting involved in any capacity!

This page was last updated by Ted on 07-Dec-2023
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