Celebrating Bats in the Tamar Valley

Greater Horseshoe Bat 1 (credit Mike Symes)

Greater Horseshoe Bat (c) Mike Symes

Residents in the Tamar Valley are being encouraged to celebrate one of the region’s rarest and fascinating wildlife species: greater horseshoe bats.

Members of the public are invited to celebrate one of Devon’s nocturnal wonders by joining one of more than 20 ‘Bat Festival’ events being staged across the county during September. The festival is the only one of its kind in the UK and its events have been organised by the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project – a 5 year partnership project made possible by National Lottery players through a £785,500 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, led by Devon Wildlife Trust. The project is working towards sustaining Devon’s population of these threatened nocturnal animals.

The Tamar Valley Centre at Drakewalls will be hosting a Prey and Predator exhibition about the greater horseshoe bat from Wednesday 29th August – Friday 14th September (weekdays 10am-4pm). Two events are taking place in the area on 12thSeptember – join a practical meadow scything event or attend an evening bat detecting walk. The 2-hour walk begins at 6:30pm in Gunnislake. Sturdy footwear and suitable warm/waterproof clothing is advised. To book your place on the evening walk, or for further details, please contact the Tamar Valley AONB team on 01822 835030, or email enquiries@tamarvalley.org.uk

Bat Festival 2018Ruth Testa, Project Manager of the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project, said:

‘We want people to be as excited about bats as we are, and this festival will bring people closer to the secret life of bats – quite literally! There are events to suit all interests, ranging from a ‘Bats, Moths and Stargazing night’, an exhibition of wonderful illustrations, talks and plenty of bat walks.’

Corinna Woodall, Manager of Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), added:

Greater horseshoe bats are some of the most intriguing and beautiful creatures.  We are very lucky to have them in the Tamar Valley AONB and to be able to play our part in making the landscape more bat friendly which will hopefully increase numbers.  We are excited to host the prey and predator exhibition at the Tamar Valley Centre and we are hope that people will get involved in some of the activities over the duration of the festival.

Further details and booking information for all the events can be found on the project’s website www.devonbatproject.org/events.

Greater horseshoe bats have seen their numbers plummet by over 90% in the last 100 years. Today Devon remains a stronghold of this endangered species with about a third of the UK population thought to be surviving in the county.

The Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project hopes to reverse the species’ decline. Over the coming years it will continue to work with local landowners, farmers and communities across Devon ensuring that Devon remains a place which offers greater horseshoe bats the room to live and flourish.

Full details of the Bat Festival can be found on the project’s website at http://devonbatproject.org/events/.



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