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4 October 2016

Marians Pond Toad crossing

Grid Ref SO562118


Marians Pond is situated on the side of the busy A4136 Monmouth to Mitcheldean road in the Forest of Dean. At last, we had the permanent fencing and spent the day replacing the temporary fence and putting in roadside barriers.

We had removed and prepared the toad crossing back in October 2015 and had expected to replace it in December but there had been a hiccup about the new barrier manufacture. (See Toad Crossing removal)

The pond has been a toad breeding site for years and some years ago a tunnel was put in at their main crossing point under the road to allow toads to go under the road. A plastic fence was erected either side of the tunnel to guide the toads to the tunnel. Over the years this fence has deteriorated and toad casualty numbers rose again.

The Dean Green Team and Forestry Commission were working with Glos County Council ( who are helping to fund the fence), Amey ( who cleared the toad tunnel under the road and cleared the debris of the old fence) and Glos Highways (provided the temporary traffic lights and lane closure on the road) and also volunteers from the Ledbury Naturalists Field Club who crossed the county border to help toads.

Due to the migratory season being in March after the frosts have disappeared, it became essential to erect a temporary barrier using stakes and plastic membrane which would guide the toads towards the under road tunnel for them to safely negotiate the road. On mild March evenings a migration begins, prompted by rising temperatures, the whiff of spring and the need to breed. Common toads are on the move, but their journey can be a perilous one. Unlike common frogs, which will breed in small puddles, toads often return to traditional spawning ponds and can travel more than half a mile from hibernation sites, in order to reach them. Once the threat of frost has passed, they head purposefully to their favoured spot often meeting females on the way. If they do encounter a female, the males clasp their partners tightly in an embrace called amplexus, and piggy-back the rest of their journey.








The team with all the poles and new barriers. We did have to cut back the over hanging branches.





Marian's pond from the other side looking towards the road and the team sitting on the fishermen's perches. The pond is used by an angling club and we saw quite large carp in it as well as a family of ducks and moorhens.





The men are screwing in the barrier and making sure that the screws are long enough to keep it secure.

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