Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Amphibian and Reptile Group
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About us

About Us

Welcome to CPARG - Cambridgeshire and Peterborough's local Amphibian and Reptile Group. ARGs are local, grassroots amphibian and reptile conservation groups spread out throughout the UK, usually organised by county. As a volunteer run group we get up to a whole range of activities – newt surveys, frogspawn counts, advice service, liaison with planning authorities and consultancies, data collection/collation, training, chytrid swabbing, talks and presentations. The opportunities are endless! Events are held on nature reserves and throughout the wider landscape, and while our focus is on Cambridgeshire there are good links between neighbouring ARGs with access to shared away-days, conferences and training available.

We are run by and for volunteers, and we'd like you to join. We're looking for members – people who might be interested in surveying, receiving training, attending talks, sharing their knowledge and experience, or getting involved in any way with amphibian and reptile conservation locally. We're also looking for new committee members to help with the running of the group, most importantly in organising and/or running events (surveys, training, talks, habitat management etc).

Map of some sites we work on:

Click Here

Membership Documents

Before you download and fill out your membership form, please read the ARG UK Generic Risk Assessment and ARG UK Lone Working Procedures. The membership fee is £5 and payment instructions can be found on the membership document below.

ARG UK Generic Risk Assessment - Click Here

ARG UK Lone Working Procedures - Click Here

CPARG Membership Form - Click Here

To find our about how CPARG is operated, please feel free to read the CPARG Constitution.

CPARG Constitution - Click Here

Social Networking


Please join our Facebook for discussions with other members.


Please follow us on Twitter for all of our latest updates.


Please follow our blog for updates on our events and activities!



Save The Frogs Webinars

Posted on Thursday 22nd August, 2013
I thought it would be a good idea to tell you about some free online webinars that you can sign up to attend based around amphibian conservation. They are being run by Dr. Kerry Kriger who is the founder and executive officer of Save The Frogs. Dr. Kriger is an American ecologist who founded Save The Frogs in 2008, now he is trying to spread his message across the globe, using the power of the internet. 
You can sign up to any future classes here - Looking at the list, you will be able to see that the webinars are going to cover a wide range of subjects based on amphibians. The next 'class' is on the Pet Trade, this coming Sunday.
If you miss any of the classes (like I have) then you can find them on YouTube, by following this link:

Introduction to Toad Patrols

Posted on Monday 4th March, 2013


On the evening of Friday 22nd February there was a meeting at the guided busway in Histon, for people who might be interested in toad patrolling and to see the busway site and the problems it has created for toads. It was too cold for toads to actually be moving but it was useful to see the site and for volunteers to hear about what toad patrolling involves. Sivi Sivanesan (Froglife), Jane Andrews-Gauvain (Cambridge & Peterborough Environmental Records Centre) and Rebecca Cattell (CPARG) were joined by several volunteers William Seale (Coordinator of Madingley Toad Patrol since 1988) and David Seilly. William has been advising the Council on protecting toads at the busway and David has patrolled the site previously. The site is currently in need of a toad patrol. David is unable to coordinate the site as he is also heavily involved with Madingley but he is willing to assist anyone who would like to take on the busway toads.

The busway cuts through the breeding migratory route for a large toad population as they make their way to and from the lake at the Holiday Inn site (Grid reference TL 44930 61922). Since the busway was installed many toads have been seen run over by the buses, or caught in the tracks and killed by desiccation. The track acts like a giant double pitfall trap, the concrete sides being too high for the toads to climb out once they have fallen in.  They are then vulnerable to desiccation. The Council have attempted to mitigate for the problem by digging a number of scrapes along the track which creates tunnels, allowing toads (and other small wildlife) to pass underneath. Between scrapes, several small concrete shelters have been created adjacent to the track to allow toads to take shelter along the way, as they are mainly nocturnal and shelter during the daytime.

It is not known how many toads are successfully using the tunnels and it would be very useful to have this monitored as part of a patrol here. The scraped areas will also need clearing to prevent a build up of vegetation and debris, which would block any holes and would also allow toads to climb up onto the track. Anyone helping toads here need to be vigilant for bicycles and buses – both of which move fast and quietly. Hi-Viz clothing and headlights are a must. Anyone interested should contact Sivi for a Froglife toad patrol pack, which gives advice on patrolling and health and safety requirements. It was suggested at the meeting that bicycles would be very useful to use when patrolling at this site, as there is quite a length of track to cover. William has successfully used a bike for many years at the Madingley patrol.

Can you help? If anyone is interested in becoming a patrol coordinator or an assistant patroller for the busway toad population, or would like more information on what would be involved, please contact Sivi ( Sivi coordinates toad patrols nationally for Froglife and provides lots of advice and assistance.  There is no minimum commitment required and any help would be greatly appreciated.  We also have a list of sites in Cambridgeshire where toads have been seen migrating in the past but we do not know if the population is still surviving. If you would like to check on any of these sites once it warms up and toads have started moving, please contact Rebecca for details ( If you find a population that is suffering road mortality there is of course the option of setting up a patrol. If you would like to get involved recording toads or other wildlife for the local records centre, please contact Jane ( On behalf of the toads – thanks!

Newt Survey Survey

Posted on Tuesday 1st January, 2013
Hi guys,

Here's a callout for anyone in our midst who gets up to newt trapping once in a while - a short 7 question multiple-choice questionnaire for a student. 


New Events for January and February 2013

Posted on Tuesday 1st January, 2013

Two new events have been added to the calendar for January - one each for amphibians and reptiles - both in Peterborough.

We'll be continueing the fine local tradition of pond digging with and for volunteers to make a new garden pond fit for newts on Sunday 13th, followed a fortnight later by some scrub management and bonfire socialising on the Hampton Nature Reserve on Saturday 26th.

Come February we're hoping to have our first habitat management session at Castor Flood Meadows, subject to final confirmation from Natural England.  

We've also been offered a slot by the Cambridge Natural History Society to speak about CPARG and how people can get involved in Amphibian and Reptile conservation locally.  Currently Paul Furnborough has volunteered to prepare and deliver this presentation, but if anyone else would like to take this on or gain some experience of public speaking please contact him (assistance is available if you'd like to but aren't confident taking it on solo).

To sign up to any of these events please check out our events tab and email the relevant event leader. 

March heralds the start of the survey season, with most of our species out of hibernation and gearing up for breeding and a summer of activity.  We'll be organising amphibian training days in Peterborough and probably Cambridge with a few to setting up volunteers to survey sites across the county - more details to follow.

There's much much more going on behind the scenes but hopefully that will wet your appetite for the new season.

See you all in 2013,
Paul and the Committee 

South Angle Farm and the Lion Learners

Posted on Tuesday 1st January, 2013
Last month I took a trip out to Soham to visit Dave from Lion Learners at South Angle Farm following the re-launch event in November. He's got a plot of land just 1mile from Wicken Fen and surrounded by farmland and ditches which they're looking to develop to draw in native wildlife.  This would add a new dimension to his education buisness which currently brings young people into contact with farm animals and exotic reptiles.

The site has a lot of potential for herptiles if they can navigate the fairly harsh looking agricultural fields (maybe via the often quite wild looking ditches) to the farm.  There's a fantastic timber pile for hibernation, a massive compost heap for grass snake egg-laying, and areas with a mix of tree cover, scrub and rough grassland.  But for my money the most exciting opportunity is the combination of space, willingness and access to a cheap digger to build ponds!  There's scope for a single large pond area, many smaller ponds, or some combination in between.

I left Dave with a daunting stack of links to pond and habitat creation guides but with the basic message, all things being equal is this: more ponds are better than less, shallow ponds and slopes are better than steep, and on a blank canvas like this it's probably a case of 'you can do no wrong, only more right' when digging ponds.

I'm sure Dave will keep us posted on his progress and it's looking likely that once the ponds are in we've already got at least one volunteer lined up to survey them for amphibians to see how quickly they colonise the site.

I left full of enthusiasm for the project - and at least as excited as the kids he normally deals with to have held the exotic snakes, lizards and tortoises that started this all off.

Paul Furnborough 



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Pond Project

Pond Project

We are currently looking to find out where all of Cambridge's urban ponds are in an attempt to learn more about the potential dispersal routes of the City's amphibians. It is important to know both where amphibians breed (in terms of public areas) but also where they may also hibernate, which is usually away from breeding ponds and in gardens. Of course amphibians will also breed in garden ponds too and this is useful additional information that we are hoping that you, the constituents of Cambridge will be able to help provide us with. 

If you do have a garden pond, the please do get in contact and let us know what species of amphibians you find in it, whether it is stocked with any fish, how old the pond is and how big it is.

Photo gallery

Photo Gallery

Jun 16, 2013
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Contact us

Contact Us

To join our email list please email: and CC

To discuss projects or partnerships please contact Steven Allain, Chair or telephone 07472235469.


To join CPARG please contact Helen Moore, our Membership Secretary.


Please see contact details for specific volunteering opportunities in the Events tab.  Alternatively, for regular fixed sessions see contacts below.

For information about local toad crossings or any toad crossing related queries please contact Mark Goodman, our Toads on Roads Officer.

Regular fixed sessions coming soon.


To submit photos of events, species or habitats to our gallery please email Ali North or upload them to our Facebook page and make it clear you'd like to see the photos posted on the website.


For general herp advice please check these excellent FAQs:

If the answer you need is not there please contact our Advice Officer, Malcolm Busby.

If you've seen what you suspect to be a non-native species then please contact Gary Miller.

We have a small team dealing with possible wildlife crimes committed against herp species - please contact Steve Parnwell who will liaise with the team.



Upcoming Events

Upcoming events will be listed here.

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