Devon Greater Horseshoe Bats

by Devon Wildlife Trust in 

Create a new maternity roost for greater horseshoe bats, sow wildflower meadows and plant hedges to provide food for mother and baby bats

by Devon Wildlife Trust in

We did it
On 5th October 2018 we successfully raised £10,800 with 362 supporters in 35 days

New stretch target

If we reach our stretch target we will be able to create more bat-friendly habitat such as wildflower meadows and orchards close to other roosts across Devon.


Help save Devon's rare bats!

This September we need to raise £8,000 to help create a new maternity roost for greater horseshoe bats, plant hedgerows and sow wildflower meadows to provide a rich source of insect food for mother bats and their pups.

In fact we need £23,000. But the good news is that just £8,000 from this Crowdfunder will enable us to hit our target. That’s because every £3.50 you’re able to donate will magically turn into £10, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s pledge to help save Devon’s bats and a wealth of other wildlife.

Why does the greater horseshoe bat need your support?

The greater horseshoe bat is an amazing animal. And following declines of up to 90% of these bats in the last hundred years, Devon is now home to Europe's most important greater horseshoe bat population. 

Devon Wildlife Trust is working to reverse the decline of these rare bats and secure their future - but we need your help! And this Crowdfunder features rewards unique to the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project, including opportunities for unforgettable encounters with Devon bats in the wild.

One of the largest UK bats, horseshoes are the only British bat species that sleeps upside down with wings folded across their body in classic cartoon style. 

Named for the horseshoe-shaped 'nose leaf' that helps the bat navigate through the dark at speed, this is an animal that has shared the Devon landscape with people for thousands of years. They are as much a part of Devon's natural heritage as the hedges they use to find their way around the landscape, or the rolling pastures where they feast on insects. And all of their Devon maternity roosts are in man-made structures: old barns, mines, quarry caves.1535124169_GHB%20close%20up%20of%20face%

Devon is now their key stronghold 

Having disappeared from most of the English countryside, Devon's greater horseshoe bats are of national - and international - importance.

Even here though, changes to the way land is used have led to losses of bat-friendly habitat: flower-rich meadows full of insect prey, woodland edges and hedgerows they use for navigating around the landscape in search of food - these are being lost or degraded. Bats need these insect-rich habitats, especially close to the maternity roosts where mother bats give birth to their young: when baby bats first leave the roost they can't fly far and need a source of food nearby.

Greater horseshoe bats are also very loyal to roost sites, always returning as breeding adults to the place they were born and raised. So if a roost is badly damaged or the habitat around it no longer supports the insect prey the bats need, a whole colony can be at risk.

The loss of just one large Devon roost could reduce the UK population of this rare species by 10%.

Your donation will go towards creating a new bat roost in East Devon and to improving land close to roosts so it can support more insects, providing food for mother bats and their pups. We can do this with your support by sowing new wildflower meadows in the South Hams and West Devon and planting new hedges in North Devon.

Your support will help to: 

Build a new bat roost in East Devon

The old building that greater horseshoe bats have used as a maternity roost for decades is becoming unstable and unsuitable for the bats to use. But the bats are so loyal to roost sites, that they keep returning to this building each year. And as there is good insect-rich habitat around this roost, another location the bats might find could be less suitable for raising their young. The solution? Build a structure specifically for bats to use as a roost close to the existing building on a known flight route. 

With your support, we can create the new roost!

Greater horseshoe bats roosting in a barn. With your support we can build a new roost to replace a structure that will soon be unusable as a roost.

Create new wildflower meadows in South Devon and the Tamar valley

Changes in farmland management caused drastic losses of traditional flower-rich meadows in the 20th century. But wildflower meadows can be re-created. With the right mix of seeds to suit the soil and drainage of each site, and the right management in place, a colourful meadow with a diverse array of flowers can replace a species-poor field in just a couple of years. Varied flowers bloom at different times and attract a variety of insects, making the meadow a vital larder for bats throughout their active season. 

With your support, we can create wildflower meadows to benefit bats and a wealth of other wildlife!Wildflower rich grassland in North Devon. With the right wildflower seed mix - and careful management - new wildflower meadows can be created with your support

Plant new hedges in North Devon

Hedges are full of insect prey, and also guide bats around the landscape as they search for food. Replacing lost hedges around their roosts can make a big difference for bats. Our team will use a variety of native tree species - such as hawthorn, hazel, blackthorn and field maple - to recreate hedges in the landscape close to a North Devon maternity roost. We will also help the landowner to maintain the hedges in the most beneficial way for wildlife.

And this work is not just a winner for bats: a well-managed Devon hedge can be home to more than 2000 species of plant and animal.

With your support we can plant new hedges to improve the landscape for bats and many other creatures!Laying a hedge in East Devon. Your donation will help us plant entirely new hedges

Please support Devon's rare bats with a pledge or donation today!

Thank you from the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project team - and remember every £3.50 raised through this crowdfunder is worth £10 to the project thanks to support from Heritage Lottery Fund.Team Bat: (L-R) Anna, Land Advisor; Ruth, Project Manager; Helen, Community Officer; Finch, PhD researcher; Mike, Land Advisor; Lizzie, Community Contractor

The Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat project started in 2015, working with landowners and communities close to 11 key maternity roosts across the county. Since then, the team has: 

  • Brought more than 650 hectares of land close to roosts into better management for bats 
  • Helped to improve over 120km of Devon hedges, restoring their ability to support more wildlife
  • Inspired children about Devon's rare bats in 170 school sessions
  • Involved over 2400 people in our 'citizen science' Devon Bat Surveys
  • Recorded more than 10,000 Greater Horseshoe bat 'passes', identifying new sites the bats are flying through
  • Helped to plant or restore nine Devon orchards, an important bat habitat
  • Improved a roost in South Devon where bats were disappearing
  • Helped to create a community wildlife garden close to a bat roost in Chudleigh and made school grounds in three locations bat-friendly

But this September, we need additional funds to complete essential tasks to help Devon's rare bats. Please help with a pledge or donation today - and enjoy some unique Devon bat rewards!

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£30 or more

34 of 50 claimed

Gardening for Bats guide & pack of wildflower seed

Thank you! For each pledge of £30 we will send a copy of the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project 'Gardening for Bats' booklet, along with a pack of wildflower seeds for you to create a wildflower area in your garden to attract pollinating insects.

£5 or more

19 of 100 claimed

Bookmark

Thank you! For each £5 pledge we will send a Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project bookmark, exclusive to this project.

£10 or more

35 of 100 claimed

Fridge magnet

Thank you! For each pledge of £10 we will send a Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project fridge magnet, exclusive to this project.

£15 or more

21 of 50 claimed

Keyring

Thank you! For each pledge of £20 we will send a Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project keyring, exclusive to the project.

£20 or more

14 of 100 claimed

Wall planner

Thank you! For each pledge of £15 we will send a Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project wall planner. Sized A2 with original bat illustrations by Exeter artist Neil Gange, this reward is exclusive to the project.

£25 or more

23 of 25 claimed

Bat Identification Chart

Thank you! For each pledge of £25 we will send a Bat Identification Chart. These charts cover 16 British bat species with illustrations of each adult bat and guidance on how to identify a bat from its flight pattern.

£50 or more

7 of 10 claimed

Bat Soft Toy

Thank you! For each pledge of £50 we will send a charming bat soft toy. The toy is suitable for all ages, made of plush, is 20cm high and weighs 90g.

£200 or more

2 of 4 claimed

Evening bat walk, Buckfastleigh

Thank you! Pledge £200 and you (and a partner or friend) can enjoy an evening bat walk in Buckfastleigh. Join Project Manager Ruth Testa - with hand-held bat detectors - to discover what species are present over one of the best places in Devon to experience flying bats. Each pledge = 2 walk places. Date of walk to be arranged with pledgers. (Children over age 6 are welcome.)

£200 or more

1 of 4 claimed

Evening bat walk, Tamar Valley

Thank you! Pledge £200 for this reward and you (and a partner or friend) can enjoy an evening walk at one of the best places in West Devon to experience flying bats, in the Tamar Valley. Join Project Manager Ruth Testa - with hand-held bat detectors - to experience the magic of bats in flight and discover what species are flying. Each pledge = 2 walk places. Date of walk to be arranged with pledgers. (Children over age 6 are welcome).

£500 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Tour of Beer Quarry Cave

Thank you! Pledge £500 for this reward and enjoy (with a partner or friend) an exclusive 'after hours' tour of one of Devon's most important bat roost sites, Beer Quarry Cave in East Devon, with an expert guide. Each pledge = two places on the tour. Date of tour to be arranged with pledgers. (Children over age 6 are welcome).

£750 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Take part in roost count in North Devon

Thank you! For £750, one lucky pledger (along with partner or friend) can enjoy the unique experience of going inside a greater horseshoe maternity roost near Braunton to help in the annual population count of this rare bat. One pledge = two places on the roost count. Date to be organised with the pledger. (Suitable for adults and young people aged 15 and over.)

£1,000 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Watch bats emerge from Europe's largest GHB roost

Thank you! For £1000, one lucky pledger (with partner or friend) has an exclusive chance to see bats emerge from the largest greater horseshoe maternity roost in northern Europe. The site is on private land in South Devon. Learn more about the roost from the site manager then thrill to movement of thousands of rare bats overhead. One pledge = two places on visit. Date to be organised with pledger. Suitable for adults and young people over age 15.

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