The newbuild was constructed at a secret location close to Seaton, in East Devon, after another long-term roost used by bats nearby had fallen into disrepair.
Experts had expected the bats to take some time to discover and use their new facility but were delighted when, in matter of days, they were found to have been there.
The new bat roost building was constructed in the summer with the help of local volunteers. It was funded by East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project, which is led by the charity Devon Wildlife Trust. The location of the new building was chosen because of its proximity to two existing colonies of greater horseshoe bats, one of the UK’s rarest and most threatened bat species.
The building was constructed from brick, with timber cladding and a slate roof. It was made to look as if it were just another agricultural building but contains a series of adaptations including special bat entrances and roosting chambers. Although specifically designed for greater horseshoe bats, the purpose-built roost can also accommodate other bat species.
Ruth Testa leads the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project. Ruth said:
“It’s amazing that greater horseshoe bats have found the roost almost as soon as we finished it. We now hope that they start to use the building regularly and that in time they may start to use it for raising their young. We thought that it would take them time to discover it, but to have them here so quickly shows that there is a need for roost spaces in this landscape.”
Pete Youngman is Project Officer at East Devon AONB. Pete said:
“This new purpose-built facility is great news as it means that the bats now have a secure roost away from any lighting or disturbance. It is located in ideal habitat which will mean they will be able to increase in number.”