Bats are fascinating, cryptic and secretive creatures. Did you know there are 18 bat species in the UK? 

At Bere Marsh Farm in Dorset, we have been monitoring bats for several years to help us understand these intriguing nocturnal creatures and we have routinely recorded seven of the UK’s species on our site. 

At a recent bat walk, with guest expert Mariko Whyte from the Dorset Bat Group, the group saw, heard, and recorded three bat species – Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, and Noctule. Capturing amazing twilight glimpses of the resident barn owl quartering over the meadows was a bonus.  

Each visitor on our walk was loaned a Magenta 4 heterodyne bat detector.  

People enjoying bat walk at Bere Marsh Farm

Photo by Nick Dobbs

People enjoying a bat walk

Photo by Nick Dobbs

Thanks to the CRT’s Twelve Gifts of Christmas appeal, the CRT now owns an Echo Meter II device and tablet plus 5 x Magenta 4 heterodyne bat detectors (3 new, 2 relocated from Pierrepont Farm in Surrey), which are invaluable for monitoring our bat species. 

Nick Dobbs, the CRT’s Community Engagement Manager, said: “We walked to the Angela Hughes Nature Reserve (AHNR) and despite the conditions recorded three bat species, which was really exciting. 

We then headed to Ham Down Copse field including a short detour down to the Stour where we picked up a few more faint bat recordings – hopefully Daubenton’s Bat too! 

“It was an absolute pleasure for the CRT to host this bat walk at our Bere Marsh Farm. One always learns something new on a nature walk, and Mariko’s knowledge and facts about our native UK bats is extraordinary. Seeing the farm’s resident female barn owl hunting along the Angela Hughes Nature Reserve was a wonderful bonus too,” said Nick. 

But don’t worry if you missed the walk, the CRT has another planned for Saturday, September 21st from 6pm to 8pm, an ideal time to see and hear bat activity. Also led by Mariko Whyte from the Dorset Bat Group, visitors will explore a variety of habitats on the farm including open fields and woodland margins.  

enny Ashdown (CRT Assistant Conservation Officer Dorset) using new bat detector equipment that was purchased following the 12 Gifts of Xmas 2023 public donation appeal.

Jenny Ashdown (CRT Assistant Conservation Officer Dorset) using bat detector equipment Photo by Nick Dobbs

Mariko Whyte from the Dorset Wildlife Trust

Mariko Whyte from the Dorset Wildlife Trust

The cost is £10 per adult, £3 per child or £5 for a CRT Friend or volunteer. Please wear sturdy waterproof footwear and bring a headband or handheld torch. 

For more information and to book, please see www.thecrt.co.uk/Event/discovering-bats-in-autumn 

How you can help

We can’t do it without you. If you want to help us protect local wildlife you can support the CRT in any number of ways, from joining as a CRT Friend to volunteering on one of our farms and attending our events. You can also sign-up to our monthly newsletter 'CRT News' for regular updates from our farms, straight to your inbox.

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Published: June 2024