Drivers urged to slow down to save toads on A591

10th March 2021 - Derwent Catchment

We’re urging drivers on the A591 just north and south of Keswick to slow down as the annual frog, toad and newt migration across the road gets underway.

Every year, amphibians move from winter hibernation spots to their breeding ponds and lakes. Their routes may have been used for generations. Some are lucky and have a straightforward journey, but others risk their lives crossing busy roads. They only move when the weather is just right, waiting for nights with mild and wet conditions. When that happens, they move en-masse, and hundreds can die each night.

Two of these crossing points are on the A591 outside Keswick. The first is near Dodd Wood to the north. The second is near Low Nest Farm, at the top of the hill leaving Keswick to head south towards Grasmere.

In just over an hour on the evening of Tuesday 8 March, our Director Jodie Mills saved 20 animals near Low Nest Farm by carrying them across the road in a bucket. She was too late to save five who had already been run over.

Jodie said: “It’s tragic how many animals are being lost here, and it happens year after year. Although there’s much less traffic due to lockdown please slow down if it is a wet night as many more animals have yet to migrate. Over the next few weeks you may see our socially distanced staff out after dark with high viz jackets and torches, so please do take care.”

Species helped in the Trust’s rescues include Common Toad, Common Frog, Smooth Newt and Palmate Newt.