Toads get help on the road

SOME lucky toads travelling to their breeding ground will be helped by the construction of a new tunnel to protect them from busy roads.Work began this week on the toad tunnel that will make spring much safer for toads in Holywells Park, Ipswich.

SOME lucky toads travelling to their breeding ground will be helped by the construction of a new tunnel to protect them from busy roads.

Work began this week on the toad tunnel that will make spring much safer for toads in Holywells Park, Ipswich.

When toads reach maturity, at the age of three or four years, they make the journey from their hibernation site to breed in the same pond they were spawned in, usually in the evening.

Toads instinctively seek out the breeding pond, but their routes often cross roads or other man made developments, and many never complete the trip.


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Friends of Holywells Park, the group who organised the project that will see a concrete tunnel underneath Cliff Lane, says it is the first of its kind in Suffolk.

In previous years the Friends have been on "toad patrol", ferrying toads across roads in buckets, but have finally persuaded Ipswich Borough Council to construct the life saving tunnel.

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Frog Life, the nationally registered frogs and toads charity, advised them on the best course of action.

The Friends themselves have given £2,500, a combination of £500 from Suffolk County Council and £2,000 from Matthew Homes, the firm that built the Cliff Copse development.

Ipswich Borough Council has put aside the remaining £10,000 needed in the form of a community improvement programme grant.

Christine McCarthy, treasurer of the Friends of Holywells Park, said: "The building work will be done by Ipswich Borough Council but we will be going down there to advise and help if we can."

Julian Dowding, secretary of the Friends, said the tunnel would save the park's toad population, and help it to recover after the extensive building work that was carried out in the area.

"Maintaining bio-diversity is important. Wildlife is in danger, and even animals such as toads are threatened", he said. "But it is also an emotional response; I don't like to see animals killed on roads."

Mr Dowding said the council deserved some credit for the project.

"The council is supporting our community group, and therefore bio-diversity, which all councils and the government have signed up to do," he said.

Although the toads will not understand that they are better off using the tunnel, their migrating instinct will nevertheless get them across. Barriers at the sides of the road by the tunnel's mouth will funnel them into the tunnel, as they pursue their set course.

But the Friends of Holywells Park will still be able to give them a helping hand as they monitor numbers.

It is hoped the tunnel will be completed in about two weeks, well before the spring breeding season starts.

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