Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Group (HertsARG)

About us

About Us

Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Group (HertsARG) is a new organisation established to involve the public in the conservation and recording of reptiles and amphibians. We are developing links with other local conservation groups in order to complete projects and develop records for the County. It is anticipated that we will affiliate to ARG UK and work closely with the County recorder to develop these aims.

Over the coming months we hope there will be news of a number of interesting and valuable conservation and research projects. Should you wish to become involved, or simply to be kept updated of progress, please email your contact details to davewillisbhs@yahoo.co.uk.

If you have any questions or ideas for future work, or know of a site you think may be of interest, let us know!



David Willis - Founder

(Please email for details, upcoming projects and any unwanted animals)


Telephone: 07581121270

Mammal Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) and Herp record queries;

Dr Chantal Helm or Mr Ian Flack
University of Hertfordshire





Looking to get your Great Crested Newt licence?

Posted on Wednesday 18th October, 2017

Every year we are contacted by people looking to acquire references for their Great Crested Newt Licence. This is not a problem, but we require the following;

  • Undertake surveyor training. We run courses every year which give participants the basic skills required to identify Hertfordshire's resident amphibians and reptiles. Coming along to one of these would be a good start! They are held at Bayfordbury Field Centre and give you the opportunity to ask questions and meet other members.
  • Participation in HertsARG activities for a season. From spring to autumn, we are busy conducting surveys and other conservation work. If you are prepared to come along regularly and get involved in surveying, we will be able to assess your identification skills and, importantly, how well you look after the animals. We are a voluntary organisation and rely on people helping out. Even if you can just give one year of assistance, that would be great - although wee hope you stay longer.
  • Exam. Dr Chantal Helm (university of Hertfordshire) has put together a written exam for the end of the season which gives you a chance to show off your knowledge of all things newt. Pass this, and we will provide a reference.


Any questions about this, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

Latest speaker to come to HertsARG

Posted on Sunday 22nd November, 2015

Rob Ward, from Kent University, joined us this week to tell us about his work with the Grass Snakes of Jersey. It was interesting to hear about the amount of survey effort that has gone into collecting his data, invloving many volunteers from the island. Of particular interest was his account of the radio tracking of snakes, which showed just how far some individual animals could travel in a relatively short space of time.

Grass Snakes are Hertfordshire's only snake species, and are totally harmless. They will be a target species for the distribution data being collated, and Rob has offered his help and advice in surveying these and other reptile species over the coming years.



Atlas progress 2015

Posted on Tuesday 1st September, 2015
Under the direction of the Atlas team, headed up by Dr Chantal Helm and Ian Flack of the University of Hertfordshire, we have been busily putting out refugia and checking ponds throughout the survey season. This has yielded dozens of results for amphibians and reptiles and added substantially to our knowledge of the distribution of these species. Please get in touch if you want to get more involved.

Hertfordshire Wildlife Atlas

Posted on Tuesday 24th March, 2015

2015 sees the start of a county wide survey effort, co-ordinated by Hertfordshire Natural History Society (HNHS), the University of Hertfordshire (UH), the Biological Records Centre(BRC)/Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT) to update the excellent Atlas of the the county's Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians, published in 2000. Further details can be found here: http://www.hnhs.org/view_news.php?id=102

This is being organised on a Tetrad basis, with people being allocated 2x2km squares across the county, with people being asked to submit data to the BRC. We have already co-ordinated one training day for willing volunteers, which took place in early February, with more planned (see events). If you wish to have further training in reptile and amphibian (herpetological) field techniques, or Mammal ID skills as well as a generally interesting day with like minded people, please come along and get started on your surveying!

The survey will take place over 5 years, and you don't have to restrict yourself to your tetrad when submitting data! Please get involved!


2015:Busy year!

Posted on Monday 12th January, 2015

2015 promises to be the busiest year so far for HertsARG. Activities are going to include;

  • GCN surveying courses
  • Reptile and Amphibian ID courses.
  • Frequent countywide visits in order to survey for presence of Herpetofauna.
  • HertsARG representation at conferences worldwide.
  • Proctical conservation and habitat restoration work.

Please get in touch if you are interested!



Past Events

Show Upcoming Events

Surveying Training

Tue 20th January, 2015

Training for those taking part in the Hertfordshire atlas revision. Small mammals and Reptile and Amphibian identification. Refugia will be given to attendees.


Sat 6th September, 2014

Weather permitting, we will be visiting Dorset, one of the few counties in the Country where it is possible to see all of our native reptiles. Please get in touch if you are interested in coming 07581121270.

Balls Wood Survey

Fri 13th June, 2014

Follow up amphibian survey at Balls Wood with bottle trapping to be checked Sat morning.

BHS/TCHG Meeting

Sat 12th April, 2014


Joint meeting Saturday 12 April 2014, 1.30 - 5.30 pm at the Drake Hall, Amersham Community Centre, Chiltern Ave, Amersham, Bucks, HP6 5AH.

1.30 – 2.00 Arrival and coffee/refreshments

Chairman: Simon Townson

2.00 – 2.40. Matthew Rendle (Zoological Society of London): ‘Royal Python conservation status and trade in West Africa’.

2.40 – 3.20. Emma Wombwell (Institute of Zoology, London / Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent):

‘Chytrid in the Amphibian Trade’.

Short break and refreshments/snacks; and informal session (see below)

Chairman: Colin Melsom

4.00 – 4.40. Luke Harding (Zoological Society of London): ‘Conservation and Captive Breeding of the Dominican Mountain Chicken (Leptodactylus fallax)’.

4.40 – 5.30. Further refreshments and an Open and Informal Session for members – Exhibition of captive bred animals and items/posters of herpetological interest (including science, books, art, photography).

There will be limited space for up to 20 exhibits, plus the Thames & Chiltern herpetological shop for equipment/dry goods.

Members who would like space should contact Simon Townson (01438 880039) eves or s.townson@imperial.ac.uk) or Colin Melsom (01494 865088) eves or colinmelsom@sky.com)

Amersham is easy to get to via J18 of the M25 or by tube/rail to Amershamstation. Parking is available and entrance to the meeting is free.

East Hertfordshire amphibian pond survey reccie 2

Sat 22nd March, 2014

Details to follow

East Hertfordshire amphibian pond survey reccie

Sat 15th March, 2014

Details to follow

March Herts ARG meeting 8pm

Fri 14th March, 2014

The Herts ARG meeting will be held on Fri 14 March at Bayfordbury SG138LD. We plan on discussing the strategy for the field visits on the 15 March and 22 March and could even have a reccie on site that evening for frogs and toads.

Conservation work party at Bayfordbury

Sat 22nd February, 2014

We will be clearing a pond of reeds at Bayfordbury on Sat 22 Feb from 10am. This pond had great crested newts in it last year but is very overgrown. We intend on restoring the pond to improve the habitat for GCN and other amphibians.

February meeting

Thu 13th February, 2014

Our February meeting will be on Thu 13 Feb (as Fri is valentines day) at 8pm to be held at Bayfordbury.

At this meeting we will be deciding on the locations that need surveying for amphibians and reptiles this year.

Herts ARG monthly meeting

Fri 24th January, 2014

Our January meeting will be at 8pm at Bayfordbury. Hope to see you all there to discuss the plans for the next survey season and to discuss some winter conservation works.

Contact us

Contact Us

David Willis - Founder

(Please email for details, upcoming projects and any unwanted animals)


Upcoming Events

Upcoming events will be listed here.

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