Bats and Churches 
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. 
All Saints Theddlethorpe J Hannah Briggs

News April 2019: Bats in Church project takes off! 

The Bats in Churches project is now officially underway with the new team on board and committed to seeing the project through over the next five years. The end of last year saw solutions successfully developed for the three pilot churches, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund confirm a grant of £3.8 million, securing the majority of the project funding. 
Our engagement, heritage and volunteer training experts, together with bat and conservation specialists, will be working with the 102 churches taking part in this trailblazing project. Our aim is to find locally appropriate and sustainable solutions to ensure the churches and their communities are able to thrive alongside their bats. Each church provides a unique set of challenges some of which will be addressed using Natural England’s specially created Bats in Churches Class Licence. 
Natterer's bat - photo by Hugh Clark
(c) Hugh Clark/ 
Bats in Churches project partner logos: Natural England, Church of England, Bat Conservation Trust, Historic England and The Churches Conservation Trust
Pipistrelle bats - Hugh Clark
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(c) Hugh Clark/ 
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