Devon Greater Horseshoe Bats appeal

Greater horseshoe bats in maternity roost by John J KaczanowGreater horseshoe bats in maternity roost by John J Kaczanow

Support Devon's rare bats!

Across Britain, greater horseshoe bats have declined by as much as 90% in the last century: Devon’s rolling landscapes are their last major stronghold. However, the kind of changes to the countryside that have devastated bat populations elsewhere are now threatening the future of Devon’s greater horseshoes.

That’s why Devon Wildlife Trust has launched the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project. We aim to create a secure future for the bats – and for the roosts, wildlife-rich farmland and woodland they depend on.Greater horseshoe bat

We need to raise funds on an ongoing basis to:

  • protect and renovate some of Devon’s key maternity roosts
  • improve access to vital food supplies near to roosts
  • run the Devon Bat Survey, giving people the chance to record the bat species using their gardens at night

Running this citizen science scheme in communities across much of Devon involves a lot of time and effort by both staff and volunteers. We need to ensure the supply of functioning detectors and then analyse the hundreds of thousands of sound files recorded.

And there is an ongoing cost to keep the bat detectors in perfect condition. Damage and wear and tear do occur and we need to be able to replace broken equipment quickly to prevent loss of useful recording time during the summer months.

This ultrasonic bat-detecting microphone (right) was damaged by a grazing animal in rural north Devon in summer 2017. 

Every donation to the project this year will be more than matched by the Heritage Lottery Fund. That means: 

  • 10 donations of £43 would cover the cost of a new SM4 bat detector.
  • 5 donations of £22 would allow us to replace a damaged bat-detecting microphone and cable 

If you can help then please donate to the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat project securely online - or phone us on 01392 279244 to give.

Greater horseshoes thrived alongside humans for centuries, using our hedgerows to find their way around the landscape and feasting on dung beetles in fields grazed by our livestock. All of their Devon maternity roosts are in man-made structures: old barns, mines, quarry caves.

These bats are extremely loyal to their maternity roosts, returning each year to the places where they were born and raised. Unfortunately, this means that damage to a roost site or the feeding grounds around it puts the entire colony’s survival at risk. Often these sites are so isolated that if one roost dies out, we lose a whole local population of bats.

Greater horseshoe bat in flight by John J KaczanowYour donation will help us protect and understand Devon's rare bats. Donate securely online

These are Devon’s bats but their heritage value is international, so the Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed to more than match any donations made.

See live bats

See video footage of female greater horseshoe bats bonding with their new-born pups inside the roost at

Please help us protect and understand Devon’s rare bats with a donation today: donate securely online or call us on 01392 279244