Beer is just bats about...bats

PUBLISHED: 12:53 21 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:47 21 August 2019

Beer received the ‘Bat Friendly Community’ award. Pictured (L/R) are: Ruth Testa (Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project), Kate Ponting (Clinton Devon Estates), Norah Jaggers (Jurassic Coast Ambassador and Beer Village Heritage) and Rick Dormor (Beer resident, farmer and part of Bat Friendly Beer). Picture: DWT

Beer received the 'Bat Friendly Community' award. Pictured (L/R) are: Ruth Testa (Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project), Kate Ponting (Clinton Devon Estates), Norah Jaggers (Jurassic Coast Ambassador and Beer Village Heritage) and Rick Dormor (Beer resident, farmer and part of Bat Friendly Beer). Picture: DWT

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They like nothing better than to hang upside down all day in the damp quarry caves at Beer, only venturing out at night to feed on flying bugs.

The Bat Friendly Beer logo. Picture: DWTThe Bat Friendly Beer logo. Picture: DWT

If they weren't already bats - you would say they were!

Now the village's dedication to looking after these night time fliers has received special recognition.

Beer has been officially named a 'Bat Friendly Community' - only the second place in Devon to achieve the accolade.

The award is for the community's work to conserve the endangered greater horseshoe bat.

Greater Horseshoe Bats.  picture: Michael HammettGreater Horseshoe Bats. picture: Michael Hammett

It has been made by the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project, which is led by Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

DWT has been has been working since 2015 to help conserve dwindling populations of what is one of the UK's rarest mammals.

At a presentation on Thursday (August 15) the village's 'Bat Friendly Beer' initiative was highlighted as a major reason for the award.

Ruth Testa, who leads the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project, said: "I am delighted to present this award to honour the efforts of the community of Beer in making their village a better place for greater horseshoe bats."

Bat Friendly Beer was established by local businesses, village organizations and educators who came together to deliver benefits for bats, other wildlife, and people.

The group aims to promote Beer as a 'bat friendly' place in which to live and work. They do this by working with the school and organising and attending events around the village.

Bat Friendly Beer has even staged its own competition to design a striking logo.

Other work has included the creation of new bat-friendly habitat in the village with the planting of a hedge, and the distribution of wildflower seeds to residents for planting in their own gardens.

Pupils, staff and parents at Beer Primary School helped celebrate 'bat day' with bat-themed arts, crafts and learning.

A mobile 'Bat Beacon' has also regularly visited the village over the past two years giving residents and visitors access to finding out all about the greater horseshoe bats which live locally.

Its interactive displays also spell out the reasons why the bats' numbers have declined across the UK by 90 per cent over the past 100 years and the work now being done to conserve them.

Kate Ponting, countryside learning officer for Clinton Devon Estates, who has championed this community project and was instrumental in getting Bat Friendly Beer underway, said: "This award is very pleasing and will encourage Bat Friendly Beer to continue and expand its efforts in this special village.

"The nearby Beer Quarry Caves is an internationally important hibernation roost for greater horseshoe bats and the landscape around it is also key to their survival. This makes it vital that the local community recognises this and works together to protect and promote this special animal."

Bat Festival month includes a chance to visit Beer Quarry Caves on September 10. To find out more, including how to take part in the Devon Bat Survey click here

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