If you’ve visited the Farm before, you’ll probably have spotted the bat boxes we’ve got in our woodland. Most of these bat boxes have been put up by the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend Bat Group so that they can monitor the bats we have at the Farm!

A few months ago, Jess and Hal from the Bat Group visited the Farm to tell us a little bit more about the bat boxes in the woodland, and why bats are so fascinating.

Hal from Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend Bat Group putting up a bat box in the woodland

Why are there bat boxes in the woodland?

The Bat Group have put bat boxes up in the woodland as part of a project to locate Barbastelle bats in the Vale of Glamorgan. Barbastelle bats are a rare species of bat that love ancient woodland. Luckily, parts of our woodland are classed as ancient, and we have plenty of oak trees. Oak trees are ideal for Barbastelle bats because they love hiding behind flaking bark.

If the Bat Group manage to find any Barbastelle bats, they’ll radio track them to find their roost.

The equipment used to track the bats

What bats are in the woodland?

We know that there are common pipistrelle bats in the woodland because they’ve been spotted in the bat boxes! Other bats that have been recorded in the woodland include: Serotine bats, Natterer’s bat, and Daubenton’s bat.

There are 18 species of bats in total in the UK.

Lesser horseshoe bats are the type of bats we see in cartoons because these are the bats that hang upside down! Lesse horseshoe bats are rare in the UK, but there are lots in Wales.

A common pipistrelle bat in one of our bat boxes

Why do bats like bat boxes?

Bats like to be cosy and they will often go into tree cavities or wood pecker holes. Bat boxes provide the same kind of environment. Bat boxes are best facing south because it’s warmer, and it’s great for them to be close to woodland because it’s easier for them to get food. Bats hibernate in winter and they love high humidity.

In the past, bears would have damaged trees, making great homes for bats. We don’t have bears anymore, so instead, we can create spaces for bats either with bat boxes or through tree veteranisation. Tree veteranisation is the process of cutting hollows into trees to replicate their natural habitat. Anything that you could fit your thumb in, bats could get in too!

Bats use the same roost for their entire life, and they are heavily protected in the UK by law. You cannot harm a bat or destroy its home.

A bat box in the woodland

Did you know…

  • Bats eat moths
  • Male bats stay on their own
  • Female bats get together in large numbers in summer to have their babies and they stay in a warm, safe place
  • The oldest bat we know about was 41 years old… He weighed 4g and was a male Brandt’s bat
  • We don’t really know why bats live so long but lots of research is being done to try and find out!

The next time you visit us and go for a walk in the woodland, make sure you look up and spot our bat boxes! To find out more about bats in Wales and bats more generally, why not reach out to the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend Bat Group.

A bat box in the woodland