Community bat survey & habitat project at Ightham Mote

Brown long-eared bat at night

Ightham Mote has recently received a grant of £7,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £4,900 from Ibstock Enovert Trust for our community bat monitoring and habitat creation project. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on local volunteers identifying, monitoring and recording information on bat populations on the estate.

This ‘citizen science’ project involves local residents and students in all aspects of bat surveying; enabling them to develop new wildlife monitoring and conservation skills, and learn about the importance of safeguarding Ightham Mote’s bat species and their habitats.

Over the last twenty years, eight different types of bat have been identified at Ightham Mote, several of which are classified as ‘priority species’, for example the brown long-eared and noctule bats. These ‘indicator species’ are especially sensitive to changes in land use practices and the environment and variations in these bat populations can point to changes in aspects of biodiversity. The aim of the project is to establish a consistent monitoring system to accurately identify and protect the bat population in their natural habitats on the estate.

A bat flying above the treeline at night
A bat flying above the trees at night
A bat flying above the treeline at night

Local schools, communities and visitors will have the chance to find out more about the project and the significance of bat conservation through volunteering, organised bat walks and a new bat trail.

Commenting on the grant award, Ightham Mote’s Lead Ranger, Andy Goodwin, said: “We’re so delighted to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. Conservation of wildlife lies at the very heart of our work, and the monitoring and safeguarding of bats is a vital part of what we do. We are very much looking forward to working with our enthusiastic team of local volunteers and students. By engaging the local community, visitors and local schools in our wildlife projects, we hope to engender a love of wildlife and the outdoors, reconnecting families with nature.”