Churches have been home to bats for hundreds of years. Between 60-90% of historic churches now have protected bat roosts. Churches provide voids and crevices for roosting, safe flight spaces and plenty of insects to feed on in the surrounding churchyards.

Find out more about our work between 2019 and 2023, some of the challenges facing churches with bats and how we've been able to help.

Our Project Churches

We worked with over 100 project churches across England aiming to protect bats and the amazing heritage buildings they call home.

  • All
  • East Anglia
  • Midlands and the North
  • South
View down the aisle facing west, the church has a red tiled floor and six large arches in each arcade, topped by a clerestory

Walpole St Peter, St Peter’s

The Cathedral of the Fens, one of England’s greatest parsh churches. We’re commissioning full surveys of the bats and the church heritage to see how we can help here.

Stained glass dated 1972 showing graphic, abstract flowers and plants

Walsham-le-Willows, St Mary’s

Covered in checkered flint and stonework and home to Medieval and modern glass, with a terracotta reredos behind the altar.

Exterior of a long, low looking church made of gingerbread coloured stone surrounded by a brick wall

Watlington, St Peter and St Paul

A warm, brown carrstone church with a roost of Pipistrelle bats. We will be helping the church celebrate all its wildlife at its annual festival.

Detail from a painted screen showing a winged angel with a sword, the angel's face has been scratched out

Wellingham, St Andrew

A jewel of a church containing a unique and perfectly painted Medieval rood screen.

Detail of old stained glass window with head of saint in middle of top window

Wellington, St Margaret of Antioch

The handsome medieval Grade I listed church of St Margaret of Antioch is an important feature in the Wellington Conservation Area and is notable for its roof carpentry.

Old stone church with wooden belfry and daffodils in churchyard

Wentnor, St Michael and All Angels

With its impressive wooden belcote and clock tower, the Grade II* listed church of St Michael and All Angels lies at the heart of the pretty Shropshire village of Wentnor.

Detial of stained glass window with a bat

West Grinstead, St George’s

St George’s, West Grinstead, sits in a peaceful situation

A carved angel holding a shield supporting the roof of the church

Wetherden, St Mary the Virgin

St Mary Wetherden is a fine Suffolk church

A sunlit church with decorative flint patterning on the buttresses. There are tall, perpendicular windows in the clerestory

Wetheringsett, All Saints

The beautiful church of St Mary Wetheringsett is Grade 1 listed

Stone church with tall bell tower and many windows

Whissendine, St Andrew

Set within the charming Rutland village of Whissendine, St Andrew’s is famous for its impressive C14th west tower, which dominates the landscape and can be seen from miles away.

The Challenge

Churches are important roosting sites for bats, and for generations many churches have provided a refuge for bats in a landscape of habitat loss.

Many churches live happily alongside their bats, and even large bat roosts can almost go unnoticed. However, in some cases, bats roosting or flying within the church can cause serious problems. They can create an unimaginable cleaning burden, prevent the church from having services and events and cause damage to irreplaceable historic artefacts.

The Bats In Churches Project was created to work with churches, bat workers and heritage communities to find bespoke, sustainable solutions for some of the worst affected churches in England and provide advice for any church that has resident bats.


Natural England, the Church of England, Historic England, the Bat Conservation Trust and the Churches Conservation Trust have come together as the Bats in Churches project. This unique partnership brings together cross-sector experts, church communities and volunteers to address the issues that can arise when bats and historic churches co-exist and help to ensure a harmonious future for both.

The project secured funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with additional funding from the partners and the AllChurches Trust.

Our Story

The Bats In Churches Project started in 2018 and ran until the end of 2023. We have carried out bat mitigation works in over 30 project churches, and are closely monitoring the results. Over 20 more churches now have plans in place to help manage their bat roosts. 

Much of this work has been possible due to the new Bats In Churches Class Licence, which allows experienced ecologists to carry out complex work around bat roosts. The work has highlighted the importance of brining together church communities, architects, ecologists, and heritage specialists who can all share their experience and expertise. This includes training bat workers to work with churches, and providing professional training to heritage specialists on working around bats, aiming to create a base of professionals who understand all the issues around both churches and bats and how best to solve the issues.

As well as carrying out major capital works in churches, we helped churches find, simple sustainable solutions. We ran regular cleaning workshops, training and masterclasses and provided covers and protection for historic monuments and artefacts. We developed resources to help churches run schools workshops, events and other activities and free online training.

We celebrated bats and churches through our own events, online talks and our new children's book.

The project ran two major citizen science surveys, the National Bats In Churches Study and Church Bat Detectives, encouraging people to explore their local churches and helping us map bat distribution in churches across England.

Need help or info about bats?

Call the Bat Helpline on 0345 1300 228

Churches in England are eligible for free bat advice provided by Natural England. This can include a free visit by a trained volunteer and can be obtained when:

  • Bats are causing a nuisance inside the church
  • Renovation or small scale building work is planned
  • Grounded bats are found