The British Herpetological Society

Following a suggestion from Council member Steve Allain , we're very happy to confirm that the BHS is now an official partner with the NBN Atlas .  Our intention is that relevant herp  location data will be collated periodically from articles in our publications and passed to the Atlas for uploading to their database.  

The NBN Atlas is the UK’s largest repository of publicly available biodiversity data.

Early days but this is an exciting new initiative that further deepens and widens the Society links with other , very relevant organisations  - along with helping to ensure we contribute as much as we can to critical data collection.   

You can read about the NBN Atlas here:  NBN Atlas


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Delighted that the 2023 Drayton Manor conference on reptile husbandry and breeding was another very successful, now truly international  event  - with speakers from Europe, the US and even Australia plus delegates from UK, Europe and the US this major annual conference  just keeps growing in scope and size.  130 + people were in the conference both days and more than 90 people enjoyed the Saturday evening dinner. 

This year - for the first time - we had the benefit of an entire conference facility at the park , with three separate but linked spaces .  This worked really well and we plan to continue in the same facility in future - it's already booked for 2024! 

We hope to produce a full report on the conference in due course;  in addition the talks were all recorded and the edited content will be uploaded to the BHS website in coming weeks and months. 

Plenty of pictures and short videos available on both the BHS and AHH Facebook pages - BHS FB , AHH FB

Huge thanks to Drayton Manor RCarlesort and all our sponsors for enabling the event.  The 2024 conference is set for the weekend of March 16th and 17th - put it in your diary now! 




Like many charities, BHS relies on donations in various forms to fund its activities and meet its aims and objectives. We pride ourselves that our running costs (including the production and distribution of our publications) is covered by membership fees, but with spiralling costs each year there is little left for funding of other important and often unique projects in research and conservation.

BHS has been very fortunate to have been the beneficiary of two large legacies that have boosted our conservation fund and hence our ability to contribute significantly to some important projects.

In January 2019 we heard the sad news that Ronald Ward-Howlett had passed away aged 86. Mr Ward Howlett was a long-standing member of the BHS although we lost contact in recent years when he evidently resided in a nursing home. As a professional he had been in banking and finance, listing herpetology as his main interest.  He sadly died with no known surviving relatives and left a large and complicated estate to three equal beneficiaries: British Herpetological Society, Zoological Society of London and the Linnean Society of London.

In January 2020 we received the legacy from Mr Ward Howlett’s estate, a cheque to the value £36,000.  In May 2021, we received a further legacy payment of £30,000. Executing the estate is complicated by the fact that the owner of the residential home where Mr Ward Howlett died has since been jailed for fraud so there are complicated legal matters which are ongoing.

Another long-standing BHS member, Mr Michael Warburg died in December 2020. Mr Warburg was an engineer in automation technology but had a passion for great crested newts, and in retirement was active with Friends of Chorleywood Common (after founding the organisation in 1990), later becoming its president. He left a legacy of £10,000 to BHS in his will, with an additional gift of £20,000 being added by his surviving wife, Rosemary. We cannot overstate how very grateful we are for the legacies gifted to the Society.

We are saddened by these losses to our membership but humbled by their generosity in passing.  These legacies will be recognised as they are assigned to well deserving causes that meet the Society’s aims and objectives.  Such kind gifts significantly contribute to the conservation of our native reptiles and amphibians, for example with the recent purchase of Blackmoor in Hampshire and Parley Common in Dorset, to which BHS donated £25,000 and £10,000 respectively.

By leaving a bequest to the Society you too can help to secure the future for our native reptiles and amphibians, and contribute to their study and conservation. There has never been a more important moment; the world’s herpetofauna faces threats of unprecedented scale, and only a great deal more work – which inevitably means more money - has any chance of alleviating this situation.  The BHS has the necessary expertise and influence, but only limited funds, to make an impact in this vital area.


A legacy to the BHS is a gift that will live forever.

BHS has generously donated funding towards the purchase of 20 hectares (50acres) of Hampshire heathland to Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) from the BHS Conservation/Land Fund earlier this year. This site at Blackmoor is part of Woolmer Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which is one of the most important areas of heathland in southern England.

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) are seeking to raise £206,000 to enable purchase of an additional 19 hectares of Parley Common - important lowland heathland in Dorset.  The BHS has pledged £10,000 towards the target!    Successful purchase of this acreage would increase the area of Parley Common owned by ARC to almost 20% of the total site area - thereby safeguarding an area of heathland on the site in perpetuity.  


Thanks to the efforts of our Secretary Trevor Rose and Website Developer Jen Drage,  ALL  editions of The Herpetological Bulletin  from the very first one dated Summer 1980 to current are now uploaded as PDFs and available on the Bulletin page.   This represents a real achievement and provides a fantastic historical resource.   All editions apart from the latest four are flagged as open access in line with our policies in this area.   

For the first time in many years (possibly since the Society was first formed)  we have regretfully decided that cancelling the 2020 AGM - scheduled for April 25th - is the only sensible course of action given the unprecedented coronavirus situation. 

We very much hope all BHS members and other users of the site are able to stay safe and well  in the coming weeks and months. 

At this point we hope that the planned Amersham meeting on September 6th - annual joint meeting with Thames and Chilterns Herpetological Group - will be able to go ahead (see separate event entry for details) but will of course be monitoring the situation in coming months.


Trevor Rose -  our Society Secretary and developer  of amphibian ladders as a solution to avoid the needless deaths of countless amphibians in drains and similar traps  -  recently travelled by invitation to South Korea to explore and promote the idea of the  ladders being used there.  Read more here:  pdfGoing Global!