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RSPB and Ground Control save the Natterjack Toad

RSPB and Ground Control save the Natterjack Toad


Lee Walsh (left) is joined by members of the RSPB at The Lodge nature reserve after successfully digging out three new ponds for the endangered natterjack toad.

The natterjack is one of the most endangered species of toad in the UK and Ground Control has helped to improve their chances of survival. Our construction department teamed up with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) at their nature reserve site in South Bedfordshire, helping to construct three new habitats for Britain’s rarest amphibian.

The project was initiated by Tesco, one of Ground Control’s longest serving partners, when they contacted the RSPB to engage in voluntary work as part of a team building project. Volunteers from the retailer worked tirelessly to help clear vegetation in a bid to re-create an area of lowland heathland at The Lodge.

Lowland heathlands are notorious for lacking soil nutrients and for their sand dominated composition. This type of environment produces a thin layer of heather plants which adjust in temperature throughout the day, perfect for invertebrates and many other species of wildlife, including the natterjack toad.

Ground Control Supervisor, Lee Walsh, carried out excavation works at the project. Lee’s experience and expertise within the construction sector meant he was able to operate a five tonne excavator to create three ponds sized 10x12m, 12x12m and 5x10m. Each pond was no more than a metre deep, developing a water source that can naturally dry out while absorbing the warmth of the sun, suiting the fast life cycle of the natterjack toads.

Lee’s engagement in the project stretched beyond his assistance in construction as he also donated a day’s wages to the RSPB’s charity. Lee said;

“It’s been great to work alongside the RSPB, this is a fantastic cause and I am thrilled to be involved in a long term project that is sure to help improve our environment. It has been a joy to work with the RSPB and we hope to see a thriving population of natterjack toads here in the future.”

RSPB Warden, Andy Schofield, was equally thrilled to see the project come to life and thanked Ground Control and Tesco for their outstanding efforts;

“Ground Control and Tesco have been a fantastic help, the project definitely would not have been feasible without their generosity and expertise. We hope these ponds will eventually become a source of life for the natterjack toad and a variety of other species.”

With the ponds now installed, it is now just a matter of hoping for a typical British summer with lots of rain required to help fill the toad’s new habitats!

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