The London and South East team had an interesting and enjoyable project recently, they were commissioned to conduct a Preliminary Bat Survey (PBS) on a beautiful church built in the 1800’s.
The church is made of a soft stone and years of erosion have meant the spire needs restoration work. The roof tiles are made of clay and also need to be restored.
The church was originally associated with a vicarage and a hay meadow, both were built in 1875 taking less than two years to complete.
Now the church is a focal point for the area, regularly performing mass and a venue for hosting events such as baptisms and weddings.
As part of the PBS the London and South East team had to make their way up the original steep spiral staircase made from the original stone until they reached the belfry.
Here, bat droppings and bat feeding remains were found, including small tortoiseshell and peacock butterfly wings, confirming this is a bat roost. DNA analysis confirmed the droppings belong to brown long-eared bats.
The team then made their way up even higher until they got to the base of the church spire where they could see all the way to the apex. Some bat droppings were found in the spire too.
Further bat emergence and re-entry surveys were recommended for this church to see if bats are currently using the church before any restoration work could commence.
The first dusk emergence survey was on a beautiful evening, however there were very few bats around, only a couple of common pipistrelles flying around the church.
The second dusk emergence survey was very similar to the first, there were a couple of bats flying around but no emergences.
The dawn re-entry survey was a lot more active than the previous two surveys! We had a total of 58 bat passes around the building, nearly ten times the amount of the previous two nights combined. There were no bats entering the church, however.
Following the results of the further bat surveys and taking into account the church is a confirmed bat roost, we have recommended that the restoration work be completed using a Bat Low Impact Class Licence (BLICL) and be completed during the winter months when bats are least likely to affected.
The restoration work can now commence on this beautiful church, keeping it the centrepiece for the area, knowing the resident bats will be unharmed.