Saturday, 9 March 2013

Toads talk Transport - No 3

The annual toad migration got off to a slow start this week and then the weather promptly went back to winter. However, whilst out with the local Toadwatch patrol, helping toads cross the road to their ancestral breeding pond, I was fortunate enough to find in my bucket the old female toad that I have helped during each of the previous two years. She is now 22 and she had started to  tell me about how tasty the slugs and woodlice had been during the wet summer when a car stopped next to us. “I like to sauté frogs in white wine” said the driver. I suppose he thought it was funny to wind me up but I refrained from throwing one of the squashed bodies from the road through his window and politely explained that I was saving toads from extinction, not helping frogs who are much quicker at jumping across roads anyway. “I eat toads as well” came the reply. “More fool you then – we are poisonous” came the yell from my bucket. That shut him up and off he screeched.

My passenger, who can be blunt even by toad standards, asked what the Parish Council had done since we last met in order to reduce the number of apes driving around in cars and squashing toads. “I’ve been to lots of meetings and written lots of emails” I replied. A muffled croak told me that she was not impressed. “But when is there going to be some action?” she asked. I explained that the councils have recently passed plans to build over 1200 houses and lots of new offices and that when most of them have been built then they hope to build a cycle path so people can bike to work. There was an explosion from the bucket – “DUCKS’ BEAKS!!” she croaked angrily (toads hate ducks because they pollute the water and eat their spawn). “Surely they should build the cycle path BEFORE the people move into the houses!?”. Which is pretty much what our MP said to me yesterday – though he did not use the same expletive. He has promised to lend his weight to the argument.

So I’m doing my best to make council planners see sense but it would help if more people put some pressure on their councillors as current cycle paths in the Hethersett area are only lightly used (for a variety of reasons) and at the moment there is scepticism about how many people are really prepared to get on their bikes.

When/if it warms up, please keep an eye out for toads on the roads - there is more info about how you can help toads at


  1. It's good to see people doing toad patrols this time of year, I hope more people will join in. I do my own along Costessey Lane between Drayton and Costessey Mill every year.

    For all those in Transition Norwich who are concerned about wildlife (I guess 99%) please look at the Save Thorpe Woods blog at: for info on what you can do RIGHT NOW to help stop Norwich's biggest woodland area being turned into a housing estate. BDC are holding a public consultation until 10th June 2013, asking the question: should the woods be built on, or should they be preserved for their biodiversity and landscape values?

    Go to our blog for all the info you'll need, and please do respond!

  2. I am agree with John Allaway.Every one should join and put pressure on councillors as current cycle paths in the Hethersett area are only lightly used.