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Slowing down Caunton traffic to protect ducks

By Warwick Lane

Author and illustrator Mr Michael Cox with his hand-painted sign warning drivers of ducks roaming around the village. 210618LSP1-1
Author and illustrator Mr Michael Cox with his hand-painted sign warning drivers of ducks roaming around the village. 210618LSP1-1

A hand-crafted sign has been put up in a village in a bid to protect ducks.

Mr Michael Cox, 68, of Caunton, an acclaimed author and illustrator, decided to create the sign — seen by drivers entering the village from the A617 — to warn motorists of ducks on the road.

He hopes it will lead people to drive with more care through the village.

"It can be quite dangerous going round the bends as cars are driven through the village far too fast," he said.

"If drivers are not aware ducks could be there, then the ducks do not stand a chance.

"I have lived here for 18 years and am amazed a sign has not gone up before.

"It has been discussed before and someone did put a paper sign up, but that quickly blew away. I thought I would design one."

The sign, which took him three days to create, includes the village’s St Andrew’s Church in the background.

The ducks are mostly found around the River Beck, which runs through the heart of the village.

Mr Cox and another villager, Mr Garry Thompson, got permission to attach the sign to a tree at Caunton Manor, home of Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace.

Mr Cox said if the sign, off Newark Road, could save the life of just one duck then it would have served its purpose.

Two of the ducks in Caunton.
Two of the ducks in Caunton.

"It has been known for a mum to walk down the middle of the road with eight or nine of her ducklings behind her, all in a line," he said.

"One duckling then stops to drink from a puddle like it has all the time in the world.

"They never seem to learn (of the danger)."

The village is noted for its ducks, with the village’s parish council website saying they seem to have right of way on the roads, and have been known to attend church services.

Mr Cox said: "They spread around the village to breed and are part of a brilliant wildlife in Caunton.

"A lot of places have their own village sign. If Caunton gets one, there would have to be a duck on it."

Mr Cox said he hoped to create a second sign warning drivers coming from the opposite direction.

He has published a number of books in the past, including the children’s Johnny Catbiscuit series and A Grisly History Of Nottinghamshire In Ten Spine-Chilling Chapters.

Mr Cox has also had educational children’s books published by Scholastic.

Several of his illustrative works have appeared at public exhibitions.


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