Churches, as well as being treasured places of worship, are part of our cultural and physical landscape contributing to the nation’s understanding of its past and present, developing a sense of place. Churches are also important for bats and some have provided safe roosting sites for many generations.
At least 60% of pre-16th Century churches are estimated to contain bat roosts and at least 8 species are known to use churches. The last century saw a dramatic decline in bat populations, largely due to loss of habitat. As a result bats are now protected by law.
Although bats often go unnoticed, some churches experience problems which restrict the use of the church and its maintenance. The University of Bristol has undertaken research to understand how and why bats use churches, and find solutions to these problems.
A partnership made up of Natural England, Church of England (Cathedral and Church Buildings Division), Historic England, Bat Conservation Trust and Churches Conservation Trust are working together to use the latest research to provide innovative solutions that support churches with bats.