Bats in the Belfry

Braunston Church has been unveiled as one of the three trial sites of a new initiative that aims to ease the tensions between those that maintain church buildings and the established colonies of bats that tend to like living in them. Indeed, at least 60% of pre-16th Century churches are estimated to contain bat roosts, and at least 8 species are known to use churches.

Bats have been a protected species since the Wildlife and Countryside Act was passed in 1981. The five-year Bats in Churches partnership between Natural England, the Church of England, Bat Conservation Trust, Historic England and the Churches Conservation Trust is therefore set to trial new techniques to enable bats and church congregations to live together more harmoniously with the aid of £3.8m National Lottery funding.

Braunston will be in the forefront of investigating better ways for humans and bats to coexist in ancient churches, and the findings from us and the other pilot projects will then be rolled out nationwide in later phases of the project. More information can be found here. A special thank you must go to Sue Willetts who has spent much time pursuing options to improve our coexistence with bats and who secured Braunston’s participation in this scheme. Watch out for more information and activity as the scheme takes flight.