A project which is working to secure a future for one of Europe’s most endangered bat species has been awarded £707,000 of support by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project will now work for the next five years across the county to secure a better future for the rare animal. The project is being led by the conservation charity Devon Wildlife Trust in a partnership involving 18 other organisations including the South Devon AONB.
Greater horseshoe are the UK’s biggest bat with a wingspan of almost 40cm. They were once common across southern England but changes in land-use such as urban development and a move away from cattle grazed pastures and hay meadows has led to their disappearance from much of the countryside.
Now the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project will work with landowners and local communities close to the bat’s 11 remaining roosts - three of which are in The South Devon AONB in the Avon Valley, Berry Head and Dartmouth, with two more close by at Harbertonford and Buckfastleigh.
The project will provide advice and assistance for landowners to manage, restore and create the networks of habitats these impressive bats need, through its own grant scheme and government grants. Working with communities and schools, the project will also raise the profile of this important species, enabling everyone to play their part in conserving a species Devon can rightly be proud of.
The project’s ultimate goal is to improve the landscapes that the bats need to travel through and feed in.
Anyone living close to one of the 11 Devon greater horseshoe bat areas and who wishes to help should contact the project’s Community Engagement Officer, Helen Parr on 01392 279244 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Greater Horseshoe Bat Project has its own website www.devonbatproject.org where you can get lots more information including bat facts and video of the bats in their summer roosts.