Southleigh bat project receives £707,000 lotto cash

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 October 2015

Greater horshoe bats. Picture:  MICHAEL HAMMETT/NATURAL ENGLAND

Greater horshoe bats. Picture: MICHAEL HAMMETT/NATURAL ENGLAND

Archant

Wildlife experts have received a £707,000 lottery grant to help safeguard the roosts of a rare bat species in East Devon.

The Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project has been given the money by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and will now work for the next five years to protect one of the rarest animals in northern Europe.

The organisation has identified 11 priority roosts in the county, including ones at Southleigh and Branscombe.

The project is being led by the conservation charity Devon Wildlife Trust in a partnership involving 18 other organisations.

Project manager Ed Parr Ferris said: “We’re delighted to have gained this generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“The greater horseshoe bat is a species that has seen its European population crash in the last 100 years, and has disappeared from more than half its British range. This has left them clinging on in just a few special landscapes.

“Changes in land-use such as urban development and a move away from cattle-grazed pastures and hay meadows has led to their disappearance from much of the countryside.”

The Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project will work with landowners and communities close to the bats’ 11 priority roosts, providing advice and assistance to manage, restore and create networks of habitats.

Anyone living close to one of the bat areas and who wishes to help should contact the project’s community engagement officer, Helen Parr on 01392 279244 or by email on hparr@devonwildlifetrust.org. The Greater Horseshoe Bat Project has its own website www.devonbatproject.org where people can learn more.

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