Oxton Road

Oxton Road Celebrates 25 Years of World’s First Road Closure for Helping Toads

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Margaret Cooper, a wildlife enthusiast and volunteer from the UK, has worked diligently to set up the world’s first toad road closure on Oxton Road.

Toads love crossing roads because they have a peculiar practice of going back to their ancestral breeding ponds every year for mating purposes.

The brave little amphibians do not care about crossing busy roads or any other hazardous infrastructural changes that might have taken place in the area.

This daring adventure leads to 20 tonnes of toads getting killed every year while crossing roads only in the UK.

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To help them reach their breeding ponds safely, a group of volunteers led by local villager Margaret Cooper, who is a member of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust life from Oxton, UK, has worked hard for the last 25 years, trying to protect the amphibians.

Oxton Road
Margaret Cooper via Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Their efforts were recognized when they were successful in having the world’s first toad road closure set up in Beanford Lane in Oxton, Nottinghamshire.

Cooper was concerned when too many toads were getting killed every year on their annual pilgrimage while undertaking their hazardous mating journey.

Toads, frogs, and other amphibians are natural pest controllers and they eat insects like snails, slugs, flies, etc., while various species consume them as well, making them an integral part of the food ecosystem. So, their dwindling numbers indicate issues with various other species as well.

To ensure a safe passage for the toads, Cooper and her group campaigned and highlighted the issue to the Nottinghamshire County Council.

The County then allowed them to temporarily close the public highway for an entire month every year, becoming the first authority in the world to allow for a safe toad road closure.

Oxton Road
Stock image of toads via Pexels

Since 1999, the group has raised thousands of pounds for setting up fences, putting up signage, and making sure that the road closure is effective every month of March.

Mrs. Cooper has recently been presented with a personalized sign by the Automobile Association, marking her work in this field for the last 25 years. She is thrilled about it and believes it is a kind gesture.

Although the world’s first road toad closure has been an amazing move, the number of toads crossing every year has gone down from 1,000 in 1999 to hardly 100-200 as of now and more conservation efforts are necessary.

Maya Bennett

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