Shropshire Star

Toad-ally awesome Ellesmere volunteers are saving bucket loads of amorous amphibians again this year

Volunteers in Ellesmere are toad-ally awesome as they hop to it again this year to make sure that sleepy amphibians don't 'croak' on local roads.

A toad crossing the road on February 14

Ellesmere Toad Patrol will again be at Swan Hill and Caegoody Lane this year, buckets in hand, to help the amorous toads cross the road safely to their breeding ponds after hibernation.

They also patrol Eastwick Lane.

Until April 30 this year short sections of Swan Hill and Caegoody Lane will be closed between 7pm and 7am each night to help toads in the area to head back to their breeding ponds after hibernation.

A local group of volunteers called Ellesmere Toad Patrol started their work on Valentine's Day which is a tad earlier than usual due to the mild wet weather they have begun migrating early this year.

Anyone local to Ellesmere who would like to volunteer for a couple of hours a week in teams of two or three is asked to visit Ellesmere Toad Patrol on Facebook.

According to FrogLife, between February and mid-April, toads all over the country will come out of hibernation and begin their hazardous journey back to their spawning ponds.

Common toads are declining in the UK with thousands of toads being killed on our roads every year, and they really need our help. Toads usually move after dark when the temperature is above 6°C on damp evenings.

The numbers of toads recorded in Ellesmere are the largest known populations having to make the hazardous journey across roads to reach their ancestral breeding ponds in all of Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Signs will be erected in the road and a fully signed diversion route will be in place whilst the roads are closed. Access will be provided to properties and businesses within the closures, for emergency service vehicles, and for pedestrians, dismounted cyclists and equestrians.

Local drivers are asked to look out for the toad signs on roads, and to take care, slow down and look out for volunteers in the Hi-Vis jackets.

Shropshire Council and its partner Kier have provided the signage free of charge.

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