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Our Stronghold for Nature Batscape



The Forest and surrounding landscape is of significant importance for Horseshoe bats, with approximately 26% and 6% of the UK breeding population of Lesser (LHB) and Greater (GHB) Horseshoe bats respectively being concentrated within the area. Whilst a number of the most important roost sites are protected, the surrounding countryside is not. This includes a range of other roosts, foraging grounds and flyways (including hedges, lines of trees, woodland edges, walls) used by the bats to get around the landscape.

Through this project we aim to better understand the sites and features which make up the Horseshoe ‘batscape’ and take positive action to conserve them.

What will the project deliver?

The project will provide us with a better understanding of the ‘batscape’ sites and features. This will be achieved by carrying out:

  • Summer and winter Lesser Horseshoe bat flyway surveys
  • Roost emergence counts
  • An assessment of the habitats and hedgerow network within the Core Sustenance Zones surrounding key maternity and hibernation roosts.

We will take action to help increase the resilience of the Horseshoe ‘batscape’, which includes:

  • Enhancing existing roosts and exploring opportunities to construct new artificial roosts
  • Improving connectivity of the hedgerow network by gapping up hedges and planting new hedges.
  • Working with farmers and landowners to encourage the uptake of agri-environment schemes, to improve the habitats and hedgerow network that Horseshoe bats rely on.

What can I get involved in?

  • Take part in Lesser Horseshoe bat roost emergence counts and flyway surveys using hand-held bat detectors.
  • Carry out hedgerow surveys to identify opportunities for enhancement work.
  • Assist with a winter bat activity survey.
  • Assist with practical improvement works to bat roosts.
  • Carry out practical conservation works - hedgerow planting and gapping-up.
  • Attend family-friendly bat walks to learn about Horseshoe bats in the Forest.
  • For farmers and landowners - attend farm walks/workshops to find out more about habitat management for Horseshoe bats and the funding opportunities available.

Click here to go to the Natural England website.


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