Bats at Parke

Greater Horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) hibernating in cave

A number of different species of bat use Parke throughout the year

Two of the most important are the Greater Horseshoe and Lesser Horseshoe bats and they use Parke in completely different ways.

The Lesser Horseshoe

The Lesser Horseshoe breed in the roofspace of the old stables of Parke House and the roofspace of the adjoining corner office. Following renovation works in the last five years, the population has significantly increased to over 200 breeding females.

A recent survey has now shown us that the bats have two principal flight routes:

  • North through the covered passageway behind Parke House, through the bike shed opposite the toilets and then north passed the wall of the Rangers workshop yard and join the path and woodland next to the disabled parking area.
  • The rest fly south over the wall of the courtyard and up through the garden grounds to the car park and then track west.

The flight routes are shown in red on the map. It's interesting to see how the bats avoid areas where there is light.

The Greater Horseshoe

The Greater Horseshoe, on the other hand, are here just for the winter and hide themselves away in the old gardeners bothey, tucked behind the walled garden. In the spring, they go to the cave systems around Bovey Tracey and Buckfastleigh and meet up with females.

Why Parke?

The real appeal of Parke, especially to the Lesser Horseshoe, are the cattle-grazed grasslands, which provide lots of invertebrates for them to feed on.

If you're interested in bats you might like to get involved in the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project and take part in the Devon Bat Survey.