Gronant Dunes and Talacre Warren SSSI is the only site in Wales which provides a home to the rare natterjack toad. Natterjack toads were first recorded here in the early 20th century, but unfortunately as a result of increasing urbanisation the natterjack toads’ habitat became fragmented and the toads disappeared from Wales altogether by the 1950s.

Recognising that the extinction was a serious setback to recovering natterjack toads at the UK level, ARC with the support of Natural Resources Wales (formally Countryside Council for Wales) assessed the feasibility and desirability of returning natterjack toads to Wales. Following this, the partners began a re-introduction project. After the creation of a small number of ponds in 1995 spawn was translocated from Ainsdale National Nature Reserve on the Sefton Coast to Talacre in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Spawning took place in 1999 and from that point the population continued to increase. Natterjack toads are now widely distributed within the dune system at Talacre. During the late 1990s funding also became available for a secure land management plan which meant that more time and resources were available to improve the site for designated species, including the natterjack toad.

The re-introduction at Talacre is now recognised as highly successful. It would not have been possible without the support and drive of multiple partners. Land within the SSSI is owned and managed by three organisations: Denbighshire County Council, Presthaven Sands Holiday Park and ENI Liverpool Bay. ENI coordinate habitat management and monitoring with the support from North East Wales Bionet, Amphibian and Reptile Group of South Lancashire, Bangor Herpetological Society and Flintshire rangers, as well as a number of local volunteers.

The success of this re-introduction has provided a solid foundation for a long term strategy in North Wales. Leading on from Talacre’s success, the site now has become a donor site which has enabled another translocation to a new receptor site along the Dee Estuary (with early signs of success). The long term vision is to extend the geographic range of natterjack toads, thus creating a more robust population and encouraging new partnerships to support the project for the long term.

This work is co-ordinated by ARC’s North Wales officer, Mandy Cartwright. Please get in touch for further information on how you can get involved with this exciting project.

Mandy Cartwright – North Wales Officer

m: 07810 184508

Thank you to the following partners: