Bats at Killerton

A Daubenton's bat

A team of expert volunteers are making exciting discoveries about the bats that live on the Killerton estate.

Killerton’s rangers have teamed up with Devon Bat Group and Colmer Ecology to set up a special team of bat monitoring volunteers. Their aim is to find out more about which species of bat use Ashclyst forest, part of the large Killerton estate. The team will also monitor bat roosts around Killerton house and parkland, eventually moving onto tenant farms and other buildings which might be inhabited by bat species.

Bats are some of the key species identified in the Land, Outdoors and Nature programme as indicators of a healthy and productive environment. The increased bat monitoring in Ashclyst and around Killerton House will let us find out which bats we have, and monitor the health of their populations.

Over 60 bat boxes had already been put up in Ashclyst forest, but now with extra volunteer power we can monitor them more regularly.

A common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) flies overhead
Common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) in flight over silver birch branch
A common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) flies overhead

The team’s latest survey found 5 species in Ashclyst; Common and Soprano pipistrelles, Noctule, Brown long-eared and Natterers' bats. They also found some of bat boxes being used by blue tits, and one being used by a dormouse. Devon Bat Group’s Sarah Butcher thought it was a great start; “We had several colonies of Natterers' bats and this was quite exciting asiIt's a bit on the early side for them to be forming up maternity roosts. Finding three or four in a box would have been nice; twenty plus was really impressive. Finding a dormouse in one of them was an added bonus”

At last year’s BioBlitz we also identified lesser-horseshoe, greater-horseshoe, barbastelle, Daubenton’s and serotine bats, taking the estate species total to 10. It’s very exciting to think that well over 10 of the UK’s 17 breeding bat species could be using the Killerton Estate, making Killerton a hugely important site for bats in the South West.