It could only happen in Britain. Every year a road near to where we live in Bath is closed for the annual migration of common toads. They make their way, over a six week period, from the hills to the river and valley floor where they mate. Road signs go up saying that the road is closed and that its for access only. A great effort is made to have a divesion route and volunteers get ready to monitor the toads as they make their way east towards the mating grounds.
You could say that this is slightly mad, closing a road and making people go the long way round to get from A to B. But I think that there is something heartening about that fact that our national passion for nature can happen at such a local level and that this happens at all. The fact that the local council goes to the effort of putting in place the diversion and places the signs at each of the road is something that makes me smile every year.
We have lost so much habitat as our towns and cities expand that its great that we’re helping to keep this annual tradition alive and well; and that the dominance of the car can be checked for the benefit of the creatures that we inhabit the world with. We should celebrate that we don’t always put ourselves first and that the flora and fauna that we live with really matters to us and is something that we do and should value.
Charlcombe Valley where the road closure takes place is a special place that means alot to me. Its an oasis of calm on the edge of the city and rich in meadows and woodland. Only last year while wandering in the valley I saw a young fox in broad daylight and during the summer the hillsides come alive with butterflies.
I hope that this tradition of closing the road continues for years to come and that we can all feel pride in the fact that it continues to happen.