Their secretive and nocturnal habits give bats an air of mystery that continues to fascinate and captivate our imagination. 

Most bat species in the UK evolved to roost in tree cracks and crevices created by other species such as woodpeckers - particularly oaks, beech and ash. Depending on the time of year and temperature, bats will use different parts of the tree. In the summer they tend to be higher up in the canopy nurturing their young in maternity roosts and lower down in the winter to hibernate.   

Over millennia and due to deforestation, about a quarter of bat species found in the UK have adapted to roosting in man-made structures including farm buildings. With their mosaic of native hedgerows, mature woodland and regenerated farmland brimming with moths and other insects, it is perhaps no surprise that the CRT’s 17 farms across England boast a healthy and encouraging variety of bat species.  

By making their high frequency “chatter” and echolocation calls audible to the human ear, detectors and identification software technology in recent decades has helped bat ecologists and amateur enthusiasts alike gain much better insights into not only which of the 17 UK species are present at localities, but all also their behaviour and roosting preferences.

At Turnastone Court Farm in Herefordshire for example, CRT’s Conservation and Mapping Officer – Ruth Moss has recently introduced a pilot bat monitoring programme with local expert James Bisset. Following the national bat monitoring protocols and using a combination of static and handheld detectors, these nine species of bat were detected between July and September 2023:

  • Common pipistrelle
  • Soprano pipistrelle
  • Barbastelle
  • Lesser horseshoe
  • Noctule
  • Serotine
  • Long-eared bat genus (most likely Brown)
  • Myotis genus (probably Whiskered bat)
  • Myotis genus (probably Brandt's bat)

Bats and their primary prey moths, are important indicators of healthy local ecosystems. The CRT are aiming to work with more local partner experts in rolling out bat monitoring programmes across our other properties. We will also be continuing to offer our popular expert guided bat walks at Bere Marsh Farm and Pierrepont Farm. 

How you can help

We are currently running twelve appeals to support the countryside in our Twelve Gifts of Christmas campaign, including raising money to buy 15 bat detectors to monitor bat species on our farms. You can make a donation from yourself or as a Christmas gift for friends and family at Moth traps to monitor healthy ecosystems.

Moth traps to monitor healthy ecosystems                       Twelve Gifts of Christmas