Looking after natterjack toad pools

Sandscale Haws Tadpoles

Nature creates the best habitats for wildlife but sometimes it needs a helping hand. Managing pools created for the natterjack toads is a big annual job for the rangers and volunteers.

If you want to get a good look at the natterjack toads in spring then visit the two viewing pools near the car park at Sandscale. Here, you can see the strings of spawn on the bottom of the pool and listen out for any croaking from the adults - especially as it turns to evening.

Male Natterjack Toad at Sandscale Haws
Male Natterjack Toad at Sandscale Haws
Male Natterjack Toad at Sandscale Haws

The rangers have given nature a helping hand by creating these pools which are fed by water from the nearby Hawthwaite Beck. A sluice controlling the water level allows the rangers to keep the pools wet in the summer months for the toads when other natural pools have dried up.


It's a cold, wet and muddy job in the winter for the rangers and volunteers as they clear the plants and debris out of the pools. If this wasn't done, the pools would become too shaded for the toads and their toadlets to survive.

Natterjack toadlet
Sandscale Haws toadlet
Natterjack toadlet

Up to 20 pairs of toads have bred in these pools and in one year there was a count of 80,000 toadlets in one pool making them perfect ‘nursery pools’.

If you fancy an amphibian adventure look out for the toads in the pools in summertime, or hear them croaking underneath the boardwalks where they go to hide. Keep an eye on the 'What's on' section for our night time safari events to see natterjacks too.