Amphibian emergency escape route installed

I have posted several times about our old well that is just outside our patio doors (The old well, The well in winter, Well shock).  I had always considered it a good environment for the newts, frogs and toads that appeared to be making their home there.

I was, therefore, quite upset and resistant to a comment that suggested that amphibians could be trapped inside the well.  However, as confirmation of this possibility came from Arc Trust , a respected amphibian and reptile organisation, I took heed.  I could not bear to think of harming the very creatures we are so fond of.  However, I would like to point out that I have never found any remains of animals in the well.

Certain creatures such as toads and lizards can fall down straight sided pits and be unable to climb out.  Examples of such pits are drains, that you frequently see by the roadside, meter pits, external basements and old wells.  Wildlife organisations have been trying to highlight the need for the placement of materials to allow the animals to escape.  One of the most promising materials is a capillary matting called Enkamat which is actually used for erosion control, among other uses.

enkomat matting in well

In the interim period I had placed a very bendy branch which I had notched at the suggestion of Tim from Art en Saule.  I think I will leave the branch in place now that there is free access and exit for all.

The netting dropped over the side easily.

Enkamat netting

This closer photo shows the 3D nature of the matting that provides a good grip for toes.

secured on grill

The grill was then replaced on top of the matting and the matting attached to the grill with a plastic garden tie.

bottom of well

Yesterday was cold and any well occupants were not to be seen probably tucked up in the crevices.

I would also like to thank Susan of Days on the Claise who (as always) has supported me with extra information and the benefit of her wide experience with the natural world.

In addition, I would like to recommend to anyone who would like to learn more about amphibian and reptile conservation to visit the Arc Trust site.  I am particularly grateful to all the help Peter Hill the South Wales Habitat Creation Officer has given to me enabling to make a habitat safer in France, which is a bit outside his area.


I’d like to think all the reptiles and amphibians in the garden are as happy now as this Mediterranean tree frog (Hyla meridionalis).  I took this photograph a few years ago in March, the garden is not as green as this, yet!


30 thoughts on “Amphibian emergency escape route installed

  1. Thanks Amelia. I was happy to help and I learnt a lot from Peter too. ARC is a fantastic organisation. Where did you get the Enkamat from in the end? I suspect Leroy Merlin sell it, but their website is so useless I couldn’t tell for sure. I need to go into the shop and personally check but the nearest one is an hour away.


  2. What a good idea the matting is Amelia, it looks unobtrusive too and thank you too for the links, the Amphibian and Reptile conservation site looks brilliant, I shall investigate some more.


  3. We have window wells that surround sub-terrain windows. Periodically I do find a frog stuck there, and have left a branch in the well for escape purposes. I like the matting idea, but getting it to stay in place seems tricky.


  4. All well that ends well. Now I’m wondering about the giant spiders that seem to enjoy our bath. We normally have a length of string tied round a tap down to the plughole, but I’m now wondering if Enkamat might be a more sophisticated and stylish solution… RH


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