BATS in Buckinghamshire are failing to live up to their ghoulish reputation – with one calmly sitting in National Trust ranger Jordan Worsfold’s gloved hands during a recent survey on the conservation charity’s Cliveden estate.
Rangers survey for the bats twice a year under license from Natural England with volunteers from the Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire Bat Group. The woodlands and stately home at Cliveden are home to 10 of the 18 species of bat resident in the UK.
Jordan Worsfold, National Trust Academy Ranger at the Cliveden Estate, said: “If the weather stays mild, this Hallowe’en you’ll be able to see Cliveden’s bats flying through the woods at dusk. Thanks to the proximity of the River Thames and our woodland rides, we’ve got thousands on the estate.”
“Bats have a ghoulish reputation – but it’s undeserved. During a bat survey this year, one female Soprano pipistrelle bat happily sat in my hand as I checked her age and size.”
Mr Worsfold, 27, who has been working at Cliveden as a trainee National Trust ranger since September 2015, added: “Thanks to our twice-yearly bat surveys, we believe that bat numbers on the estate are stable. That’s because the habitat here is good for bats, with plenty of trees and old buildings to roost in and insects to eat.
“We do all of our conservation work in the woodland with the bats in mind – checking trees for any woodpecker holes, loose bark and other features that might hide roosting bats before we set to work.”
The bat surveys at Cliveden are conducted under license from Natural England. It is illegal to handle bats – a protected species – without permission from Natural England to do so.
About Bats and Cliveden:
- Cliveden House was donated to the National Trust in 1942 by Viscount Astor, step-great-grandfather to Samantha Cameron. The wider estate includes 130 hectares of woodland overlooking the River Thames.
- 10 of the 18 species of bat native to the UK can be found on the Cliveden Estate, including the rare Nathusius’ pipistrelle.
- The south terrace of Cliveden’s grand seventeenth century house is the location for Britain’s biggest bat swarm at a man-made structure. The spectacle takes place every Autumn, with hundreds of bats gathering above Cliveden’s ornate terraces. It is believed to form part of a courtship display.
- Rangers from Cliveden Estate and volunteers from Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire Bat Group survey bats in the woodlands near the River Thames in Spring and early Autumn. They survey the bats under licence from Natural England, checking their age, sex, health and size before gently releasing them.
- The woods at Cliveden are also home to barn owls, tawny owls, kingfishers, roe deer, red kites, common toads and dormice.