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Date updated: 20/01/2023

Common toad conservation project

Epping Forest is London’s largest public open space with areas of outstanding natural beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The Forest has lots of rare and important habitats and includes an ancient semi-natural woodland, wood-pasture, old grassland plains, ponds, heathlands and wetlands.

The Forest has over 100 ponds which all play a vital part in the Forest’s ecosystem. They are especially important for the common toad, which breed in the areas of deeper water and return to the same pond every year, following the same ancestral migration routes.

Recent research has shown common toad numbers have declined by 68% in the last 30 years. We want to give Epping Forest’s toads the best environment to raise their young toadlets and would like to undertake improvement works on five ponds across the Forest to facilitate this.

The ponds are:

  • Bell Common, Epping
  • Theydon Green, Theydon Bois
  • Knighton Wood, Buckhurst Hill
  • Oak Hill, Woodford (two ponds)

Once conditions in a pond improve, many specialist pond plants return quickly from the seedbank in the pond mud or from small remnant plant populations still present. Due to the number of ponds in the Forest, some plants and animal species will migrate between them and as a result will thrive when conditions improve.

We need your help to raise £48,000 to improve these five ponds for our much-loved toads. Your support will help:

  • Restore open water to four ponds through removing choking vegetation and silt
  • Help the sun to reach important pond plants such as broad-leaved pondweed and water lillies at three ponds
  • Improve the water quality of Theydon Green Pond
  • Provide toads with refuges and shelters during the winter close to each of the five ponds

Every donation, whatever its value, is gratefully appreciated and will help us to improve the five ponds for the benefit of Epping Forest’s common toad population, as well as for the many other plants and animals that depend on our important Forest ponds.

Epping Forest is managed by the City of London Corporation and is a registered charity (number 232990).

*Please note: If monies are raised above the required amount, or in the case that insufficient monies are raised to enable the project to go ahead, the amounts raised would be directed to similar projects within the charity.

Donate to the common toad preservation project