DEDICATED animal lovers have been hard at work - saving Maidenhead's prized toad population from going down the drain.

The Deerswood area of Maidenhead is home to one of the largest remaining colonies of toads in the south of England.

They are particularly prized, as recent research has revealed a 68 per cent drop in the common toad population across the UK.

Each spring, the Maidenhead toads’ journey to their breeding pond takes them across a number of roads near Ray Mill Road East and they are prone to falling down drains, unable to escape.

Toad ladders across the drains were introduced in 2017 by the locally based charity Wild Maidenhead when 100 were brought in, the largest installation of its kind in the country.

Now as part of the Royal Borough’s gully maintenance programme, they have been repositioned ready for the toads' migration in March.

Work was completed with the help of Wild Maidenhead and the highways maintenance company VolkerHighways.

Wild Maidenhead’s co-founder Jan Stannard said: “We were really grateful for the help given so willingly by VolkerHighways, led by David Horton, for this essential work.

“The crew were very helpful and patient and our volunteers about ten in total, were very impressed with their kind and willing co-operation. A big thanks to the company and the crew for helping to conserve a declining species.”

Cllr Samantha Rayner, cabinet member for culture and communities, said: “Maidenhead is incredibly fortunate to have such a strong knot of toads and we must do all we can to preserve the population. The ladders will greatly assist their migration in allowing a safer journey.

“The Royal Borough is a beautiful area with much wildlife and nature that is hugely valued by our residents.”