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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 successfully developed a better understanding of the sites and features that make up the Horseshoe ‘batscape’ and took positive action to conserve them.

What has the project delivered?

We developed a better understanding of the ‘batscape’ sites and features. This was 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 also helped increase the resilience of the Horseshoe ‘batscape’, by:

  • 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.
Volunteers and the local community were involved in the following ways:
  • Taking part in Lesser Horseshoe bat roost emergence counts and flyway surveys using hand-held bat detectors.
  • Carrying out hedgerow surveys to identify opportunities for enhancement work.
  • Assisting with a winter bat activity survey.
  • Assisting with practical improvement works to bat roosts.
  • Carrying out practical conservation works - hedgerow planting and gapping-up.
  • Attending family-friendly bat walks to learn about Horseshoe bats in the Forest.
  • Farmers and landowners were invited to attend farm walks/workshops to find out more about habitat management for Horseshoe bats and the funding opportunities available.

We thank Lucy Smith, Gerry O'Brien and David Priddis for volunteering their time and expertise to support Batscape and our partner Natural England for helping deliver this work. We are delighted that they were recognised in 2020 with awards for this work, see news article


Our Stronghold for Nature projects

Our Stronghold for Nature Projects

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