Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Blackdown Hills Bat Survey

 12th Dec 2011

Pipistrelle 250More than 60 volunteers took part in a night-time survey of the Blackdown Hills on the 29th of July 2011 to help protect some of the county’s most precious bats.

Organised by the Somerset Environmental Records Centre, the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Somerset Bat Group (SBG) it is the first time the Blackdown Hills have been surveyed for bats. 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.

Full Survey Report now available

Led by experts, volunteers completed 12 bat walks using hand-held bat detectors to identify which areas are used for feeding and commuting. The results were analysed by the Somerset Bat Group and a full report  is available to download from the Somerset Environmental Records Centre website. Manager Jo Nightingale said: ”We were delighted to see so many volunteers participating in, and enjoying, this important survey work which will underpin local conservation efforts for this special species group.”

Linda Bennett, Manager of the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty said: "We would like to send special thanks to all of the participants, the leaders of the transects, the Somerset Bat Group members for their significant contribution in helping to organise the survey (in particular Lou, Cath, Liz and Edward) and the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for hosting this large-scale survey and for providing a grant through its Sustainable Development Fund."

Surveyors found an abundance of Common Pipistrelle bats ­ the UK’s smallest bat with a body about the size of a thumb. Barbastelle, Leisler's and Lesser Horseshoe bats were also discovered.

Photograph of Pipistrelle © Amy Lewis