Bats and Churches 
Churches, as well as being treasured places of worship, are an important part of our cultural and historic heritage, contributing to the nation’s understanding of its past and present. Churches are also important roosting sites for bats and some have provided a safe haven from habitat loss for many generations. 
It is thought that as many as 60% of pre-16th Century churches 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, and as a result bats are now protected by law. 
When bats are present in small numbers they often go unnoticed, but some churches hosting large roosts can experience issues that restrict the use of the church and its maintenance. The Bats in Churches partnership project is working with church and conservation communities to find bespoke, sustainable solutions for 102 of the worst affected churches across the England. 
The project is running until 2023 and we hope that the discoveries we make will help churches and historic buildings confronted with similar challenges to live happily alongside their bats.  
The Bats in Churches partnership is made up of Natural England, the Church of England, Historic England, the Bat Conservation Trust and the Churches Conservation Trust and we are working together with a wide range of experts, using the latest research to provide innovative solutions that support churches with bats. 
We are also running a bats in Churches citizen science survey that everyone can get involved in, no experience needed! The findings from this unique study will help us to understand how and why bats are using churches across the country. Click below for more info on how to get involved. 
All Saints Theddlethorpe J Hannah Briggs

July 2019 Update: The bat survey season continues... 

For many of our female furry friends, the sole pup of the year has been born and, while they aren’t yet flying very successfully, they’re growing stronger fed by their mother’s milk. Keep your eyes peeled near known maternity roosts for pups on the ground as they’re learning to fly and if you see one report it to the free National Bat Helpline (0345 1300 228). If the helpline is closed, follow the advice on the Bat Conservation Trust website and check here for alternative contacts. 
You can see a lovely video of a mum collecting her grounded pup thanks to the work of Berkshire Bat Rescue here. 
Our ecologists are being kept incredibly busy surveying the year 1 project churches, many of which have already undergone 2 surveys in May and June, with 2 more dusk surveys lined up for July and August. 
In Autumn, once the surveys have been completed and the data crunched, the ecologists will be collaborating with the churches, architects and advisors to provide recommendations on how best to manage their bat population. 
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
more info > 
(c) Hugh Clark/ 
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