Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Group (HertsARG)

About us

About Us

Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Group (HertsARG) was established in 2011 to promote, conserve and study Hertfordshire's native populations of reptiles and amphibians. Since then we have gone from strength to strength and warmly welcome new members whatever their level of knowledge or experience. We have  Whatsapp and Facebook groups.  The group contains several licensed great crested newt workers and we are happy to take questions and queries from the public on these and other species.

The following species are found in Hertfordshire;

Smooth newts (Lissotriton vulgaris)

Great crested newts (Triturus cristatus)

Palmate newts (Lissotriton helvetica)

Common frogs (Rana temporaria)

Common toads (Bufo bufo)

Midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans) *Non-native and generally restricted to St Albans area*

Common/viviparous lizards (Zootoca vivpara)

Wall lizards (Podarcis muralis)

Slow worms (Anguis fragilis)

Grass snake (Natrix helvetica)

There are no reliable records of adders (Viper berus) in Hertfordshire. Despite extensive searching across the county, we have not found any. They are therefore regarded as extinct here, pending proof of any animals being provided.  Any suspected bites or injuries should be taken to hospital  or veterinary surgery. 

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





Has it really been that long ?!

Posted on Thursday 13th December, 2012

Hello all,

Apologies it has been so quiet for so long, but things have been busy. There have been a few talks undertaken (Bishops Stortford Natural History Society and Hertfordshire Natural history Society). 2013 looks set to be our busiest season yet! Our next meeting will be on the second Friday of January 2013, when we will be getting ready for the upcoming survey season. Watch this space, which will be a lot busier than it has in 2012!

April 2012 update

Posted on Sunday 8th April, 2012

HertsARG April 2012.

Happy Easter! Many thanks to everyone who came to Bayfordbury Field Centre last week, and thanks to the University of Hertfordshire for letting us use the facilities again. Photos of the day are up on the website. There are a few dates for your diary, some good news and a request for assistance.

Great Crested Newt evening

Depending on weather, Will Atkins (LEHART) will be leading a tour of the ponds of Coppetts Wood in Barnet. These ponds are a great example of conservation volunteer effort and support a thriving population of Great Crested Newts. This will take place over the next fortnight and Will is going to send out notification 2-4 days in advance. This will give you opportunity to see some of the theory discussed last week put into practice.

Wildlife Trust Events

There are a number of Herp-focussed Wildlife Trust events coming up. Some highlights;

Monday 16th April 2012 6-9pm. Herp Surveying in the Colne Valley. Iver Heath SL0 0EB. Contact Jennifer Gilbert (07909 914962) or wildlifetrust@hillingdon.gov.uk.

Saturday 12th May 2012. 10am. Reptiles and rare plants, Balls Wood, Hertford.

To book, the Balls Wood event or to check for other interesting guided visits to other reserves visit www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/

Stevenage Pond Project.

HMWT have also been working on ponds in the Stevenage area at Symond’s Green, Monks Wood and Whomerley Wood. If anyone wants to get more involved, contact Ann Favell wildlifetrust@stevenage.gov.uk

Hertfordshire Toads and Toad Crossing projects

There is growing national concern regarding the numbers of Common Toads (Bufo bufo). There are a number of locations in Hertfordshire at which “toad crossings” used to take place with volunteers helping toads to cross roads en route to their spawning ponds. The following are, at least historically, known to be toad crossing sites;

Hollycross Road, Amwell Great Wymondley/Willian

Bourne End, Pix Farm Road Westmill

Mangrove Road/Lord Street, Hertford/Hoddesdon Panshanger/Mimram Valley

Sparrowhall Farm, Waterend Lane Wilstone Reservoir

Stevenage Rd., Letchworth

Sperberry Hill, St Ippolitts

If anyone lives near any of these places, or knows of other toad locations, please contact me or our Conservation Officer, Michelle Bullock (michelle.bullock@live.co.uk) as we will be organising a few of these and hopefully getting a handle on any decline in Hertfordshire.

HertsARG field days

A trip to the Alpine Meadow Nature Reserve, Berkhamsted ,home to Common Lizards, Slow Worms and Grass Snakes is planned for the next 3-4 weeks. This will be dependent upon weather, and further notifications will follow.

ARC Grant

Posted on Monday 5th March, 2012
Following an application to Amphibian and Reptile Conservation in January, we now have a set of pond dipping equipment (professional nets and dip trays) on their way in time for the Newt season! Thanks to John Wilkinson and others at ARC!


Posted on Monday 23rd January, 2012
The Olympic year promises to be a busy one for HertsARG! There will be an early season meeting in April and we will be attending several council-run events to promote reptiles and amphibians in the wild. Dates to come. If you have news or pictures you think would be good on the website send to davewillisbhs@yahoo.co.uk or, our new and very welcome Website Officer Anthony Laing at avonplettenberglaing@gmail.com.

Reserve Surveying 
Following a meeting with the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT), we will be embarking on an ambitious survey plan, to cover as many of the 40+ reserves across Hertfordshire in order to get an idea of reptile and amphibian presence and numbers wherever possible. This will then lead to a plan for conservation tasks. we will be looking for people to volunteer to go and survey their local reserve whenever they can to help with this!

Much of this work is being co-ordinated by HertARG's Amphibian Officer, Kris Chan. Kris has extensive experience with Great Crested Newts in Norfolk. If you have an amphibian-related question, query or fact, please contact Kris on kris_chan@btinternet.com.

Great Crested Newt Training

There are plans for Great Crested Newt (GCN) surveying training to be rolled out to HertsARG members this year. Stay tuned or get in touch for more info.

Our friends
Reptiles and Amphibians need all the help they can get, so we're always keen to promote the work of like-minded organisations. Have a look at these;

Glebelands/Coppett's wood reserve.Not in Herts but excellent Newt habitat just down the road;


Hertfordshire Biological Records Centre. Whether you have sightings of frogs, fritillaries, badgers and bats, send them here!


Pond count

You can take part in the Big Spawn Count by going to your pond and counting the number of spawn clumps present. For more information about this, and to enter your results online, go to the Big Spawn Count pages (which are on the Pond Conservation web-site).


Autumn Meeting

Posted on Tuesday 18th October, 2011
Thursday 20th October 2011 at St Albans Sub Aqua Club, CottonMill Lane, St Albans, AL1 1HJ
7pm-9pm. We will be discussing the launch of the ARG and our plans for next year. Hope to see you there!



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Contact Us

David Willis - Founder

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


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