Rare bat project gets £10,000 grant to help restore a barn where they roost

A greater horseshoe bat. Picture by Daniel HargreavesA greater horseshoe bat. Picture by Daniel Hargreaves
A greater horseshoe bat. Picture by Daniel Hargreaves
A grant of £10,000 has been awarded to a group restoring a nationally-important bat roost.

It is one of a range of initiatives across Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex to have been awarded grant funding from the Sustainable Communities Fund (SCF). The dedicated community fund is a partnership between the South Downs National Park Trust, the official independent charity for the National Park, and the South Downs National Park Authority.

The cash was awarded to Sussex Bat Group and Vincent Wildlife Trust to renovate and maintain a barn in West Sussex that is a vital haven for the greater horseshoe bat (the location is being kept secret due to the extreme sensitivity of the site). Once a cave-dweller, this bat species is now very rare in the UK and tends to roost in old buildings, such as churches and barns.

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Daniel Hargreaves, bat programme Manager, said: “Greater horseshoe bats were once considered extinct in southeast England, so to discover a maternity roost in the South Downs National Park is incredibly exciting. It demonstrates that vulnerable species can bounce back if the habitat is suitable; this vital funding has helped secure this important roost and created a safe haven for the bats.”

Vanessa Rowlands, chair of the National Park Authority, said: “We’re pleased to be able to award these grants to a variety of really inspirational projects that will aid nature recovery, celebrate heritage and create wellbeing opportunities for people of all ages.”

Applications for future SCF funding are being welcomed. For more information visit southdownstrust.org.uk/scf.