Lesser Horseshoe Bat Roost Restoration
During the winter of 2012-13, major work was undertaken at a property near Harlech, Gwynedd, to restore a large lesser horseshoe bat maternity roost which was on the verge of collapse.
The roost, which is located in the outbuildings of a Grade II listed building, is home to over 200 lesser horseshoe bats Rhinolophus hipposideros during the summer months. However, after years of neglect, part of the building had collapsed, and one of the remaining retaining walls was also on the verge of collapse, putting the future of the previously unknown roost in jeopardy.
The project came about when a member of staff from the Cultural Heritage department at Snowdonia National Park Authority visited the site to give advice regarding the collapsing wall. Whilst inspecting the building, he noticed its occupation by bats, and got the National Park’s ecologists on the case immediately. It soon became apparent that what had been discovered was a previously unknown maternity roost of the lesser horseshoe bat, a rare species in the British Isles, for which Snowdonia is one of its major strongholds.
Funding for the project was secured from 5 different sources; Cultural Heritage Department at Snowdonia National Park Authority, the Agriculture and Conservation Team at Snowdonia National Park Authority, the Countryside Council for Wales (now Natural Resources Wales), Magnox through their Socio-Economic fund, as well as the owners of the property.
Altogether, the project required the rebuilding of the retaining wall, the repair of the chimney stack, and the replacement of a corrugated iron roof with traditional slate. In addition, additional improvements were implemented, thus enhancing the building’s suitability as a roosting site for lesser horseshoe bats. Work on the project was completed in April 2013, ensuring the survival of the roost for many generations to come. The project is an excellent example of co-operative working between different organisations, individuals and companies, including the building company who undertook the work and the bat ecologist who was contracted to oversee the project.