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Photo © Jon Cranfield

On 25th May 2018 the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. This is not a new legislation, as it builds on the Data Protection Act 1998. Nevertheless, it represents an important challenge for volunteer groups, since there will be greater scrutiny of the way in which we manage personal information after this date. In order to support the ARGs, we have complied a new Advice Note which sets out how the GDPR applies to our volunteer groups and what we need to do to comply with the law.

You can download the advice note here: 

  pdf ARG UK (2018):  ARG UK Advice Note 9:  The General Data Protection Regulation (2018) (234 KB)

We appreciate that there is a lot of information in this document, but if you have any questions please do email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will be happy to offer advice and support. Our ARG UK Data Protection Officer is our trustee, Steve Langham. He has been exploring ways of helping the ARGs to manage their personal contact data more securely, using an online database based on the successful system already in use by Surrey ARG, which you will be able to access through a web portal. We will be sending out more information about this in the coming months.



An exciting new opportunity has arisen as part of our conservation and outreach work for adders in South West Wales. ARG UK are seeking an experienced outreach officer to champion community engagement in Pembrokeshire, and develop a new volunteer training and participation programme ‘Adders are Amazing’. You will work closely with Pembrokeshire County Council, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, National Trust, local partners and communities to involve and enthuse the public in adder conservation. You will need to enjoy working with people, have excellent communication and organisation skills and experience of working with volunteers.

Amphibian and Reptile Groups of UK (ARG UK) is a registered charity (number 1165504) committed to the conservation of native amphibians and reptiles and their natural environment by supporting the development of a network of independent volunteer amphibian and reptile groups (ARGs).

Interviews will be held by skype in the w/c 26th February. 

Closing date for applications is Tuesday 20th February.

About the job

This is a 60% (3 days per week) role in the first instance.

The reward package is based around a salary of £23,000 - £26,000 pa pro rata plus contributions to a group personal pension scheme and other benefits, including 25 days (pro rata) annual leave.

This role of Pembrokeshire Adder Coordinator is a fixed term contract for 12 months from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. However, there may be opportunities for extension subject to additional funding.

The role is home-based, but ideally the applicant would be based in the South West Wales area. This post reports to the coordinator of ARG UK and will be responsible for coordinating the Pembrokeshire adder outreach and engagement project.

How to apply

A full job description and person specification can be downloaded document here (44 KB) . If you fit the bill, please write explaining why you would like to be considered for this role and enclose a copy of your CV, and return it to Angela Julian (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by Tuesday 20th February.

We expect to hold initial interviews in the w/c 26th February by skype.

If you have any questions about the role please contact Angela Julian (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


HWM 2014 036On Feb 1 & 2 2014 the annual Herpetofauna Workers' Meeting was held at Bristol Zoo, who proved superb hosts making us very welcome, and laying on a wonderful conference venue with great food and facilities as well as flamingos outside the window (not everywhere can manage that), and of course a reptile house for those who managed to get out and enjoy the surroundings.

As ever, two jam-packed days of activities, presentations and workshops. The standard of presentations was uniformly high, so it is difficult to pick out highlights - though of course we are entitled to be biased and mention the most excellent ARG talks from Mike Brown of NMARG presenting the serious decline in sand lizard populations on the Sefton Coast, Paul Wilkinson's (Birmingham, Black Country and Staffordshire ARG) fascinating insight into the fluctuating fate of the amphibians inhabiting Fens Pools in the industrialised landscape of Pensnett Chase, and an up-date to Nigel Hand's (HART) ground breaking telemetry work with adders in the Malvern Hills.

We also heard updates from our (ARG UK & ARC) joint partnership Toadsize project, Bristol Zoo, ARC, Natural England, the Freshwater HWM 2014 034Habitats Trust and the Institute of Zoology, and from two overseas speakers: Raymond Creemers (RAVON, the Netherlands) who gave two very insightful talks on the gully pot problem in mainland Europe, with some practical solutions that we can try closer at home, and the impact of grazing on lizards; and Giancarlo Lalsingh (SOS Tobago) who provided a thought-provoking overview of turtle conservation in the Caribbean and the ways in which SOS are meeting the challenges faced by this enigmatic group of marine herps.

HWM 2014 033The workshops provided a focal point for exchange of news and views with the Salford University team demonstrating the latest advances in novel newt traps - (though with the advent of eDNA testing - comprehensively presented by Jeremy Biggs, there were concerns that we'd all be consigned to the pages of history), Andy Glencross and Chris Monk bringing planning legislation alive, and a ferocious debate about the pros and cons of taking live animals to public events, and how best to minimise stress to all concerned (including human volunteers) from Nigel Hand and ARC's Gary Powell.

Finally, no meeting would be complete without the social programme and, following an HWM 2014 029excellent gala dinner and raffle which raised over £600 to support the good work of SOS Tobago (big thank you to everyone for their generosity), Jim Foster's now legendary interactive quiz 'Have I got newts for you', took centre stage, with much merriment and conviviality (and if anybody knows what charade Trent was enacting, please do let Gail and me know).

So, a chance to meet up with old friends and colleagues and make new ones, swop herpy stories, learn new ideas and techniques and, as we look forward to a new field season, a chance to enjoy our own unique community (all photos courtesy and copyright of Pete Hill).

HWM 2014 030

HWM 2014 

Grateful thanks to all our generous sponsors who make this meeting possible, and affordable for our volunteers, and to the ARC team, especially Ange Reynolds, for all of their hard work behind the scenes.

 bristol-zoo-logoBHS logoCGO-ecologyFAH Docs workableCaledonian Conservationherpetologic-logo

 BWG logo transparenthesketh-ecologyARC logoARGUK 


Frogs are really now getting in the spawning mood.....

Jane Adams aka @Wildlifestuff posted this video of frogs in her garden pond - 19 clumps of spawn is the largest reported so far to the Big Spawn Count 2012

Frogs are have now turned up as far north as Edinburgh. Frogspawn have been reported from Kent, New Forest, Devon, Somerset and the number of spawn clumps are gradually rising in ponds up and down the country. The main thing to do is keep an eye on the numbers of clumps turning up in your chosen pond or ponds. Once you see that no more spawn is being deposited this would be the peak of the breeding in that particular pond. It is this number which allows an estimate of the frog population in any given pond. Please do help our common frogs and send in the peak spawn clump counts to Pond Conservation for the Big Spawn Count 2012.

More news to follow soon....



After the South East Regional Meeting historic vote last year, followed by press coverage of the call for further protection for the UK's only venonmous snake species the Adder the government advisors Natural England has established a short project which has been termed the Adder Status Project or ASP.adder_combat

The Adder has consistently been ranked the rarest of the widespread species within the National Amphibian & Reptile Recording Scheme, Add an Adder collated historic data on adder presence over the the UK while Make the Adder Count has been collating count data on adder sites across the UK for the last 7 years. Local groups have been working hard on their adder populations examples of these projects are found in Herefordshire ART (Whats that Snake?), Surrey ARG (Adder Project) and Kent RAG (Adders in Decline). All this information is vital to understanding the bigger picture for the adder as well as reviewing what needs to be done for the future of the species.

The Project is being spearheaded by Dr Chris Gleed Owen on behalf of Amphibian & Reptile Conservation who is working Steve Langham from Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group. The project is going to try to assess the current situation regarding the status of the Adder in the UK. Using predictive mapping and other such wizardry it is hoped that habitat assessments can be undertaken via the internet to help local volunteers and other surveyors to properly target the adder as a species of concern each year.

The Make the Adder Count Project was relaunched at the Herpetofauna Workers Meeting 2012 with a successful workshop and has now its own reporting system into the Record Pool -

The request:- For people who would like to help verify records across the country please email Chris on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

'I’m currently working, to a very tight schedule, on a project for ARC, funded by NE. It’s an assessment of the status of adders across England (working title: “Adder Status Project (ASP)”). I am currently trying to gather as much adder data as possible, from all over England, in the short timescale of now until mid-February (c.15th) . We’re after all reptile records, not just adder; as this will help us analyse false negatives vs real absence. We’ve already got ARC’s Rare Species Database, plus the NARRS, MTAC, Add an Adder and Sliding Scales datasets. I have also put in requests via the NBN Gateway, for full access to all the individual county LRCs’ datasets. Some have already responded positively, and I’m hoping quite a few more do. It goes without saying that all data will be treated sensitively and with due acknowledgement. We have to compile data as quickly as possible, as the project ends in mid-March, and we need the data in the next week or two at most. I know most of the ARGs have a good relationship with their local ARGs, and regularly share data with them; so I should get most ARG data via the NBN/LRCs route. But I’m also wondering if there might be any reptile data out there that has not made its way to the relevant LRCs? I thought perhaps you might be able to out a request please to find out? We will be grateful for any reptile data (1km resolution or greater) from any English county, before the middle of Feb. Steve Langham is working flat out on the habitat & species data wizardry, and I am trying to gather the raw materials. We will be reporting to ARC (& them to NE) in mid-March. The aim is to assess the status of adders across England, as best as we are able to at present; and to recommend the way forward for monitoring and setting conservation goals. Hopefully there will be a follow-on project later in the year if funds materialise, and that would allow wider consultation and participation. Many folks will be hearing from me in the meantime too.

I also wonder if any of the ARG contacts would be able to assist in verifying/validating adder records for me please? Any help with this would be a godsend, as we have thousands of Add an Adder records that need verifying.

Thanks in advance,'


Dr Chris Gleed-Owen, Director & Principal Ecologist, CGO Ecology Limited, 5 Cranbourne House, 12 Knole Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 4DQ - 01202 251114 - 07846 137346 -


Surrey ARG Toad SignThe cold weather has thawed now is the time to look out for the migration of toads across roads heading towards their breeding pond. Often toads seem to bunch up and go all at once after cold winter weather. It appears that warm mild winter weather leads to a more drawn out migration. Many of the registered toads on roads sites are supervised and coordinated by Local Amphibian & Reptile Groups

'Toads on Roads' was established in 1984 by Flora and Fauna International. Local Amphibian & Reptile Groups quickly started managing their crossing sites. The longest running example may well be the excellent work undertaken by Surrey ARG

It is believed that toads may already have started crossing roads in the South West and requests for volunteers have gone out over twitter, facebook and the online news media.

Swindon - Toad Patrol

Suffolk ARG - Toad Patrol

Bristol - Toad Patrol 

Bristol Zoo & Avon AARG - Toad Patrol

Coltswold Water Park - Toad Patrol 

The ARG UK panel hopes that all the thousands of volunteers have a safe toad crossing or patrolling season. If you would like to join a local ARG and help patrolling a toad crossing in your area then please check our local groups page or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can put you in touch with other local volunteers.

Surrey ARG Toad Crossing road


ToadSize recording copyright Emma WallaceWith the recent onset of more Spring-like weather and warmer evening temperatures, toads are once again on the move, with amorous amphibians heading for their breeding ponds.

The Henley Toad Patrol who operate the crossing on the busy A4155 have now assisted over 6,000 toads to cross the road, so a big thank you to Angelina and her team for their sterling efforts, and please everybody do let us know how you are getting on.

This year the ARGUK 100% fund made a small grant available to KRAG to help with their various toad projects including, 'Getting Toads Out of a Hole', and their regular toad patrols. It is great to see our funds being put to such good use, as Amy Wright and her team get out on the highways and byways of Kent to save local amphibian populations.

OxARg toad measuring 2 A JulianFor all those taking part in toad patrols please don't forget our ToadSize project, which seeks to find out more about the impact of road mortality on toad populations, by measuring male toads. To participate you will need to measure between 10 and 20 toads on the nights sampled, write down the measurements and send them to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or directly to John Wilkinson at ARC (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

(images copyright Emma Douglas, Angie Julian)

Find out more about toads on roads

Toads on Roads  is an awareness campaign started by Flora and Fauna International in 1984. Amphibian and Reptile Groups have been at the heart of the campaign and have organised and coordinated toad crossings since 1986. An example of this work can be found in Surrey where the local ARG has coordinated over 30 registered toad crossings. 

There is a network of volunteers, groups and organisations who help monitor toad crossings and rescue animals from the road. You can contact Froglife to register a new crossing or to find out which crossings are being patrolled. Alternatively you can contact your local ARG (many ARGs are involved with toad patrols and would welcome new volunteers).

Hundreds of volunteers organise the installation of road signs, raise awareness locally and operate toad patrols during the main traffic periods. Toad patrolling is potentially a dangerous activity, so volunteers must assess the risks of walking along busy roads at night. In some cases Local ARGs have installed fencing and even tunnels underneath the road in order provide access across the road for the toads while reducing the need for putting volunteers in the way of traffic.

If you have queries about how to help toads then have a look at the advice booklet

pdf  Toads - Advice for Planners - published by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation

Considerations for ARG Groups


  • ARG UK's insurance (free to affiliated groups) covers toad patrolling as long as risk assessments and training have been undertaken and the members of the patrol are signed up members of the local ARG. 
  • Find your local ARG to see whether you can help with toad crossings in your area.

Coordination at county level

  • ARG UK would like to publish a list of ARG's that are actively coordinating toad patrols for Toads on Roads. One of the hardest aspects of this sort of activity is keeping going through the main migration time (time of year and through the night). Therefore ARG UK are keen to be able to point new volunteers to their local Toads on Roads patrol to help keep the rescue going over the migration period
  • If you would like to be involved then do contact your local group or send in your details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Local Authority/Highways - closures of roads, signs etc

  • Sitting toad for logoIt is probably best to contact your local council to see whether volunteers can open the signs and then close them when the migration has finished.
  • If you have a registered toad crossing it is probably best to let the local Highways department know when toads are crossing so that they can put up signs if these are required. 
  • Some signs are fold-down or -over signs. 







Ssssscotland here we come!


Recent news about the status of grass snakes living wild has been posted by Chris Cathrine, Clyde ARG and ARG UK Scotland Rep who has been researching the presence of grass snakes ever since he spotted a grass snake while surveying for great crested newts.

The story was reported at the Scottish Herpetology Meeting last year and a follow up story has been published in the Herald Scotland. 

Further efforts to find other grass snake sites in Scotland are in preparation and more news on this will be revealed very soon



Hertfordshire becomes the UK's newest ARG!

The 2011 Herpetofauna Workers' Meeting in Cardiff provided the inspiration for establishing the UK's new Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Group. As always, this excellent conference allows the annual get-together of 150 people from county ARGs across the UK, and this year's meeting provided an inspiring set of talks and workshops over two days.

There has never been an ARG group dedicated solely to the county of Hertfordshire. The wildlife charity LEHART covers the counties of London, Essex and Herts, and has a herpetofaunal focus, but it was felt that there was still room for a Herts-based ARG to generate more volunteer interest in amphibians and reptile across the county. Enthusiastic founder of HARG, David Willis, said "The minor problem I have is that there is no existing Herts ARG, and so the new website would have to be as much an appeal for interested members as anything, with a list of sites and tasks to be updated over time, and hopefully links to any organisations that want to be included."

So please do consider joining Herts ARG by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and get your name added to the email circulation list. A Yahoo Group may also be formed in due course, to allow posting of news, ideas, photos etc.

Source: Hertfordshire ARG

Pond Conservation is asking whether anyone can beat the first spawning date for the Common frog Rana temporariataddies_in_garden

The first date, according to Pond Conservation ,was the 5th February 2011, however earlier dates have now been included - 8th January, and even the 2nd January on Natures Calendar

On twitter land the ARG UK can now report the first date for free swimming tadpoles!

According to @CornishTartans their tadpoles were free swimming on the 19th February - The spawn arrived on the 31st Jan/1st Feb so the tadpoles took around 18 days to hatch.

Can anyone beat this observation? do people keep watching their spawn clumps to see when the tadpoles break free from the jelly surrounding them?




Amphibian and Reptile Conservation has just produced an advisory leaflet targetting reptiles in Environmental Stewardship schemes. The leaflet Selecting Environmental Stewardship Options to Benefit Reptiles summarises reptile issues relevant to those involved in agri-environment work and folds out into a poster.  It complements two other leaflets, addressing great crested newts and natterjack toads, and all are available from Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.  

The reptile leaflet is also available as a download from the external publications section of the ARG UK website.

Save Kiln Meadow (SKiM) gets court hearing

SKiM campaigners outside the council

Save Kiln Meadow (SKiM) a campaign by the Ipswich Wildlife Group have successfully convinced a judge in the High Court that there is a case against the decision by Ipswich Borough Council to sell off an area known as Kiln Meadow.  Babergh District Council had given outline planning permission for a housing development despite the concerns over the impacts on one of the largest toad populations recorded in the Toads on Roads campaign. 

In a recent case in which the Local Government Ombudsman reached a 'local settlement', Babergh District Council (BDC) were found to be 'at fault' in failing to take wildlife and biodiversity legislation into account when granting outline planning permission for an area known as Kiln Meadow a very key toad habitat among other protected species, part of the Thorrington Hall development. (Planning application number B/02/01984). (Story so far on

The developers Redrow have submitted a plan to build 94 houses on the meadow. After taking legal advice, the planning authority, Babergh, has refused to register this plan. Redrow has also taken legal advice and discussions between Babergh and Redrow are ongoing. It is possible that the planning delay has been caused by the Judicial Review Process. The legal challenge has profound implications in relation to the NERC Act which puts a legal duty on Local Authorities to consider Biodiversity. The Toad Bufo bufo is now listed under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan as a priority species due to its decline in Southern and Eastern England.

Toads on Roads or toad patrols were initially started by ARG Groups in Surrey. Toads on Roads is the campaign title which hundreds of volunteers work under during the spring migration of toads to their breeding ponds. The obstacles of roads means that many get squished by traffic. Toad crossings are registered by the Highways Departments of the different areas. The campaign is now coordinated by the charity Froglife, many toad patrols are maintained by independent volunteer and ARG groups. The Bobbits Lane/Kiln Meadow Crossing is ranked at one of the 3rd highest in terms of 'collected toads' in 2010 - 7,000 toads were rescued from the road over the spring migration.  Advice for planners has been produced by the ARC Trust - Toad Advice Sheet for planners

Top five sites in 2010

  1. Henley-Marlow - Bucks - 10,501 toads
  2. West Stow - Suffolk - 9,053 toads
  3. Bobbits Lane (Kiln Meadow) - Suffolk - 7,000 toads
  4. Charlcombe - Avon - 3,380 toads
  5. Rumwell - Somerset - 2,857


Contact - SKiM

email Jen on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or ring 07879844939.



ARG UK proud to launch group websites in 2011


The ARG UK has a new website and the panel has ploughed in with providing free websites for the groups in the network. Several have now gone live and can be accessed through our local group listing page. It was very important to the ARG UK panel to provide services to the groups within the network including:-

There are many active ARG's who maintain their own websites and do a fine job of getting the information about their group, activities and news on the internet. The ARG UK wanted to provide assistance to new groups and groups who have not managed to get a website up and running. Being a volunteer network (of groups and contacts) it is not always possible to follow the trail blazers who have long established websites. The ARG UK felt that responding to our groups/volunteer suggestions for new websites and online recording would be a fantastic approach in 2011 to enable much more to be done in the name of Amphibian & Reptile Conservation in the UK.

The first few have been added after the group's review

Examples to date include

More will be added over the coming week as ARG's review their information, add photos and news about their activities in 2011.

If you are member of ARG which needs to get a website up and running then do get in contact Jon Cranfield 01962 733932