Avon Reptile and Amphibian Group (ARAG)

About Us

ARAG was first set up in 1995 and has become firmly established since 2006. It seeks to promote reptile and amphibian conservation throughout the counties of Avon and North East Somerset. It aims to improve the knowledge of the distribution of our native Herpetofauna, educate the public and increase the awareness of the challenges faced by this group of animals.

ARAG is committed to achieving these aims through surveys, undertaking practical conservation projects, and assisting with local toad patrols. 

If you are keen to join the group and participate in activities then please either visit the facebook page or send an email to

If you are visiting this site having seen a media clip or press release about toad patrols then hopefully we can help point you in the right direction. If you are outside of the Avon area please visit the following link.  -  This virtual map allows you to input your postcode and make contact with your closest toad patrol anywhere in the UK.

To join an ARAG toad patrol please visit the relevant Facebook group to download the details and to complete the insurance form. If you are not on Facebook please email 

Fishponds Toad Patrol -
Chew Toad Patrol -
Bitton Toad Patrol -





ITV clip from Fishponds Toad Patrol

Written on Tuesday 7th April, 2015

Check out the link below for footage shot by ITV whilst out patrolling with our volunteers in Fishponds.....


Toad Patrols

Written on Tuesday 7th April, 2015
Toad Patrols are now winding down across our area but we are still checking on sites each night for toads that may be returning from their breeding lakes.
ARAG Toad Patrols take place in Fishponds, Chew Valley & Bitton and we support independent toad patrols in Bath & Portishead too as well as at other sites throughout the former county of Avon.
To join up with a toad patrol please visit the relevant facebook page. You can download the risk assessment and insurance forms from there. You can then email the completed insurance form to 
Fishponds Toad Patrol -
Chew Toad Patrol -
Bitton Toad Patrol -

Wild at Chew Day 20th August 2011

Written on Wednesday 17th August, 2011

After a very successful event in 2009, Bristol Water have organised another Wild at Chew Day. This is a fantastic opportunity to come and learn about the bugs, birds and beasts living in and around the margins of Chew Valley Lake. Bristol Water staff will also be on hand to discuss their management programmes currently being undertaken to preserve these habitats and species.

ARAG has conducted surveys around the lake and will be present on the day to chat to members of the public about amphibians and reptiles, in particular how to identify them, where to look and what you can do to help protect them. An excellent event for budding herpetologists!

If you are able to attend then we shall see you anytime from 10am at:

Woodford Lodge,
Chew Stoke,
BS40 8XH

I look forward to seeing you all there!

NARRS Training Event

Written on Wednesday 13th July, 2011

Saturday 26th March saw ARAG run NARRS survey training at ELm Farm, a very apt location having strong commitments to local conservation.

Throughout the day, volunteers were introduced to many aspects of collecting good survey data. The first section covered the importance of working with landowners, site selection and risk assessment. This was followed  by a very visual guide to the challenges in recognising our native amphibians from spawn through to adults (including some non natives). Identifying reptiles was shown to be less challenging, however recognising their range of habitats and spotting them within can be difficult for a first-time surveyor, but participants were reassured this would improve with practise in the field! Many surveying techniques were covered in detail including visual searches, torching, refugia, effects of seasonal and daily timing of surveys. The importance of correctly recording herpetological observations and other sightings of interest, were also highlighted.

After training everyone was invited on a walk around the farm to absorb the beautiful surroundings. Approximately 10% of the land belonging to the farm is preserved or deliberately planted for the benefit of native wildlife, some of which we were lucky to see! A couple of the ponds on-site were also investigated and found to be teeming with a diversity of invertebrates and toadspawn with a few newts swimming for cover from the ever-busy toads. A common lizard was also spotted nearby in addition to buzzards, hares and ammonites! There was also the opportunity to see refuges and nest boxes for owls, bats and doormice.

A huge thanks to ARAG for organising, Elm Farm for hosting and all those who attended for making it such an enjoyable as well as educational day. It's great to know there will be a number of squares surveyed in the Avon area this spring and summer!

NARRS Training

Written on Wednesday 9th March, 2011

ARAG is intending to conduct the training as part of the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme on the 26th March at Elm Farm, Burnett. More details will follow once the details have been confirmed.

The training will be free to all those who have registered to survey a designated NARRS square but £10 for those who have not. All funds will be used by ARAG to cover costs of this and some future events. 

If you are interested please send an email to

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Photo Gallery

Our latest photos
Common Lizard - Bristol
ARAG member Paul Ford found this common lizard last week in Bristol....

Grass Snake - North Bristol
ARAG member Paul Ford found this grass snake yesterday in North...

Common Toad
Photo: Paul Ford

Basking adder
A male adder found basking on a sunny slope.

Coiled grass snake
This snake was found sheltering under a survey mat.

Common lizard
A female common lizard temporarily basking on someone’s leg!


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Contact Us

Avon Reptile and Amphibian Group

Please visit the facebook page or email in the first instance & we can then provide you with a contact number if required.

Upcoming Events

We'll announce our events here...

Latest News

ITV clip from Fishponds Toad Patrol: Check out the link below for footage shot by ITV whilst out patrolling with our volunteers in Fishponds.....  ... read more >>