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Natterjacks on the march

Published: 25/07/2014

Flintshire’s growing population of Natterjack toads is on the move this month as a new site on the Dee estuary becomes the latest in Wales for this unusual creature. This exciting new conservation project building on the success of the introductions to the sand dunes on the Denbighshire and Flintshire border will see the transfer and introduction of Natterjack Toad tadpoles to the Old Bettisfield Colliery site at Bagillt. Headed up by Flintshire County Council’s Countryside Service in partnership with the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC), Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Kingspan Insulated Panels, the translocation will be co-ordinated by rangers to create a small but important UK colony in North Wales putting Bagillt firmly on the conservation map. “It’s been a long haul to get to this point,” said senior coastal ranger Mike Taylor “We were involved in the Gronant and Talacre colony owned by ENI from approximately 1997 and it is that experience that has allowed us to develop the Bagillt site.” Securing the Bettisfield site as part of the Wales Coast Path project allowed some preparation work to be carried out with fencing and sand added to a barren coal waste tip. This year has seen work on drainage and the creation of two new breeding ponds on an area previously damaged by illegal off road activity. “Support from Kingspan Insulated Panels has meant the completion of an extra pond and further habitat work which we wouldn’t have completed otherwise” said Mike. Councillor Mike Reece for Bagillt West said: “In three years time the old Bettisfield site should bear witness to the calling of adult Natterjack Toads. Add this to the Wales Coast Path, the best views of the Dee estuary and by far the best Dragon Beacon in Wales and we will have a section of coastline quite special and well worth a look which we can be really proud of. Gone are the motorbikes and off-roaders that blighted our community instead it’s now wildlife and peace and quiet.” Mark Harris of Kingspan said: “.We are delighted to be given the opportunity to contribute to this very worthwhile conservation project – supporting our local community and enhancing our environment is a key part of our strategic vision to establish a world leading sustainable business unit at our divisional headquarters in North Wales” Photo caption L-R: Emma Green from Kingspan Insulated Panels, Mike Taylor coastal ranger, Mandy Cartwright coastal ranger and Alistair Hemphill coastal ranger.