Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Volunteers survey Blackdown Hills for bats

Horseshoe bat © Brain Phipps

Batty volunteers

More than 60 volunteers took part in a night-time survey of the Blackdown Hills on Friday, July 29 to help protect some of the county’s winged wonders.

It is the first ever time that the Blackdown Hills have been surveyed for bats, thanks to Somerset Environmental Records Centre, The Blackdown Hills AONB and the Somerset Bat Group.

”We were delighted to see so many volunteers participating in, and enjoying, this important survey work which will underpin local conservations efforts for this special species,” said Jo Nightingale, Somerset Environmental Records Centre Manager.

Our thanks go to the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for hosting this large-scale survey and for providing a grant through its Sustainable Development Fund.

What did they find?

Led by experts, volunteers completed 12 bat walks using hand-held bat detectors to identify which areas are used for feeding and commuting.

Surveyors found an abundance of pipistrelle bats -­ the UKs smallest bat with a body about the size of a thumb. Natterer’s, daubenton, long-eared and lesser horsehoe bats are also thought to have been discovered.

The mix of habitat on these hills make it an ideal home for a variety of bat species and the survey results will be used to help manage and protect woodland, grassland and heathland to benefit bats.

The data is now being analysed by the Somerset Bat Group and a full report will be published later in the year.

Want more species info? 

For more info on some of the bats found on the Blackdowns click the links below:

Common pipistrelle bat

Brown long-eared bat

Lesser horseshoe bat 

Get involved

The Somerset Bat Group is a very active group of volunteers who make an important contribution to the conservation of bats across the county and nationally.

To find out more about the Somerset Bat Group click here.


Horseshoe bat © Brian Phipps