Oxton's 'first' toad road closure marks 20 years

Margaret Cooper with Erin McDaidImage source, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
Image caption,
Margaret Cooper with Erin McDaid of the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust in 2015

The 20th anniversary of what is believed to be the world's first road closure solely for toads has been marked by conservationists.

Beanford Lane in Oxton, Nottinghamshire, is part of an ancient migration route across the Dover Beck.

In 1999, Margaret Cooper led a successful campaign to get it closed temporarily for the warty amphibians.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said her efforts over the past two decades had been "remarkable".

Image source, Tom Marshall
Image caption,
Toads migrate from one side of Oxton to the other during March

Nottinghamshire County Council became the first authority in the world to temporarily close a public highway to protect toads following Mrs Cooper's campaign, according to the trust.

The campaigner, with the group's help, now raises about £800 each year to pay for the costs of signage and fencing to close the road safely for a few days.

Media caption,
Nottinghamshire road closed for a month - for toads

Mrs Cooper also marshals toad patrol volunteers to help get the amphibians to the other side of Oxton.

"[Margaret's] tenacity and powers of persuasion are legendary locally and the fact that she secured a world-first is proof of her powers," said Erin McDaid of the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

Mrs Cooper said: "All those years ago we saw squashed toads on the road and said 'something has to be done' but we were amazed when the highways people said yes.

"The toads have a lot to deal with so really they need all the help they can get.

"Unfortunately toad numbers have dropped in the past 20 years, which is depressing, but what is good is that more and more people want to help and it raises the issue of wider conservation."

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