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Custom built bat house attracts maternity colony of Lesser horseshoe bats

© Duncan Painter

Lesser horseshoe bat maternity colony

A maternity colony of Lesser Horseshoe Bats (LHB) has successfully colonised and raised their young in a purpose built bat house designed by Applied Ecology Ltd only four months after it’s construction within Royal Arthur Park (RAP), near Corsham, Wiltshire.

A total of 22 adult and young LHBs were present in the building in July 2014 and have been day roosting inside the building throughout the summer, having first recolonised the site in April 2014 following their winter hibernation in off-site roosts.

The building is one of two bat houses that have been built within RAP as part of bat mitigation and enhancement measures set out in a Natural England European Protected Species licence. The license legally enables the demolition of existing buildings (formerly Royal Navy barrack buildings and other structures) used by horseshoe bats to enable the redevelopment of the site as a continuing care community village called Wadswick Green.

Many of the derelict buildings within Royal Arthur Park surveyed by AEL were shown to support colonies of breeding Lesser Horseshoe Bats as well as smaller numbers of summer roosting Greater Horseshoe Bats. Due to these findings, two bat houses were constructed to maximise the chance of both species continuing to maintain their presence on site and hopefully increase their numbers in the long term.

© Duncan Painter

Custom built bat house

Construction of the bat houses took place over the winter of 2013-14 and was complete in advance of building demolition in January.

Both bat houses have been shown to have been used by roosting LHBs during the 2014 summer and one has been investigated by Greater Horseshoe Bats. One bat house has been constructed with a large cellar to create conditions suitable for winter hibernation. Over the coming winter season and following years we will continue to monitor the buildings to check bat use.

Construction of the bat house was completed by Morgan Sindall on behalf of developers Rangeford and was overseen by AEL.