Home to roost

01 September 2015 | Posted in SWT News , Wildlife , mammals , Gatwick Greenspace
Home to roost
pipistrelle bat / Hugh Clark FRPS

Sussex Wildlife Trust has been given a Biffa Award of £1,026 to put up bat boxes in a woodland by the River Mole near Gatwick Airport.

The River Mole Plantation Woodlands offer an ideal location for bats but, as the trees are young, there are no suitable nooks and crannies for them to shelter in.

This autumn Sussex Wildlife Trust will put up 24 bat boxes with the help of the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership and volunteers from the local community. The boxes will be used as day roosts and maternity roosts. It is hoped these boxes will also help to support the rare Bechstein’s bats which have been recorded at another nearby woodland.

Other bats to benefit from the project include common and soprano pipistrelles, Daubenton’s, whiskered, Brandt’s and serotine.Sussex Wildlife Trust will also buy two detectors which will be used to monitor bats in the area.

Kevin Lerwill of Sussex Wildlife Trust says: ‘A common pipistrelle bat can eat up to 5,000 mosquitoes in one night, which is good news for people out enjoying a summer’s evening.’

Volunteers will be helping to check the boxes regularly and the species data will be passed to the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre.

Gatwick Greenspace Partnership works to benefit people, wildlife and the countryside covering the area between Horsham, Crawley, Horley, Reigate and Dorking. The project is managed by Sussex Wildlife Trust and supported by all the local councils, London Gatwick Airport, and Arcadia, the charitable foundation of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.

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