North Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile Group

About us

About Us

NMARG was formed in 2005 and is a group of about 70 members who are mostly involved with the conservation and monitoring of the reptiles and amphibians found in the area, especially the rarest two species, the Merseyside Race Sand Lizard and the Natterjack Toad.

During the Winter months, we undertake habitat management work, sometimes in partnership with other ARG groups, Natural England staff and volunteers and the Sefton Council Coast and Countryside Ranger Service. This vital work involves the clearance of unwanted scrub and trees, especially Sea Buckthorn, a highly invasive alien shrub on the Sefton Coast, which would otherwise shade out the precious Sand Lizard and Natterjack habitat. In the Spring, NMARG members also help to create and maintain the patches of bare sand essential for Sand Lizard egg laying.

During the Spring and Summer months we spend a large amount of time recording and monitoring the local reptile and amphibian species, especially the rarer species. NMARG's EPS licensed members also help to provide training in reptile and amphibian surveying.

Anyone wishing to get involved, seeking advice or supplying records are very welcome. Please contact Mike Brown at




Habitat Management tasks during the Winter months 2021-2022, provisional dates

Posted on Thursday 4th November, 2021

NMARG has now arranged provisional dates for a series of volunteer habitat management tasks at several sites in the Ainsdale area during the coming Winter. All the tasks will involve the removal of invasive scrub and small trees. The dates are as follows:


Saturday, 27th November, 2021

Sunday, 12th December, 2021

Saturday, 8th January, 2022

Sunday, 23rd January, 2022

Saturday, 5th February, 2022

Sunday, 20th February, 2022


Further details will appear in the Events section nearer the times of each event.


Habitat Management tasks during the Winter months 2021-2022

Posted on Wednesday 29th September, 2021

NMARG are hoping to undertake a number of volunteer habitat management tasks during the coming Winter months, mainly involving clearing scrub from our important Sand Lizard sites on the Sefton Coast. More details will appear here in the coming weeks.

Sand Lizard breeding success 2021

Posted on Wednesday 29th September, 2021

Sand Lizards surveys were up and running again on the Sefton Coast in 2021 for our licensed surveyors, following the severe restrictions due to Covid last year, but we have been disappointed so far by the lack of hatchlings spotted, indicating that 2021 may have been a poor breeding year for our Sand Lizards, or at least for successful hatching of their eggs. This may be due to two weather factors - the very cold May and the very dull, wet August. The hatchlings which have been seen in September were mostly quite small, indicating late hatching. Hopefully we will have some good weather in the coming weeks, to enable those hatchlings to feed and bulk up before entering hibernation.


Posted on Wednesday 18th March, 2020

Unfortunately, no NMARG events will be organised at present, due to the covid-19 virus outbreak.

Second habitat management task of the 2019-20 Winter at the Birkdale Sandhills.

Posted on Thursday 28th November, 2019

Our second habitat management task of the Winter, at the Ainsdale end of the Birkdale Sandhills LNR and SSSI, was successfully completed on November 24th 2019, when we again joined forces with the Gems in the Dunes project staff and volunteers, to undertake the clearance of highly invasive shrubs, especially Cotoneaster and Sea Buckthorn, in order to open up a very steep south-facing bank and encourage colonisation by Sand Lizards (see photos above).



Show Past Events

scrub clearance at Ainsdale

Thu 9th December, 2021 - Thu 9th December, 2021

On Thursday December 9th, we will be helping to clear an area of invasive scrub and small trees on the Ainsdale dunes, together with volunteers from Avian Ecology, Network Rail and Atkins. The exact location for this event is yet to be decided, due to the Ainsdale NNR being closed, because of the danger from fallen trees. Members of NMARG are very welcome to participate. For further details, please contact Mike Brown on

Habitat Management at Ainsdale

Sun 12th December, 2021 - Sun 12th December, 2021

On Sunday, December 12th, we will be carrying on with the clearance of scrub and small trees on an important Sand Lizard site at Ainsdale. All members are welcome to help out. For further details, please contact Mike Brown on

Contact us

Contact Us

Mike Brown (chair)


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