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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!