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
Main entrance to old church with tower, table tombs in churchyard

Holcombe Old Church

A romantic, atmospheric church with a treasure trove of Georgian furnishings, in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Stone church with bell tower and black and red roof tiles in a striped pattern

Hope Bowdler, St Andrew

St Andrew’s parish church was rebuilt in the 1860s and is notable for its fine stained glass windows.

Stone tower and nave with brick South Chapel and gravestones in foreground

Hunsdon, St Dunstan

Dedicated to St Dunstan, this large medieval Grade I listed church lies about 1 mile from the village of Hunsdon and has intriguing Tudor connections.

A stained glass image of St John The Baptist church

Keyston, St John the Baptist

Home to a rare wooden cadaver, and with a large number of bats roosting inside. We’re commissioning full surveys of the bats and the church heritage to see how we can help.

the exterior of a small stone church

Lamorran, St Moran

The beautiful, isolated church of St Moran has been closed because of the impacts of bats

The exterior of a small church with a domed apse and a wodden proch with a clock

Langford, St Giles

St Giles Langford is listed Grade 2*

Church stained glass window with Red Arrow plane and regimental arms

Little Rissington, St Peter

The Grade II* medieval church of St Peter sits within the Little Rissington Conservation Area, a short distance from the village in an elevated picturesque position overlooking the Windrush valley.


Longfield, St Mary Magdalene

St Mary Longfield is a rural Kentish church

Church tower with clock and ironwork arch over gate

Loppington, St Michael and All Angels

This handsome Grade I listed church is home to at least three species of bat.

Exterior of stone church from south with iron lampost beside path leading to south porch

Low Catton, All Saints

All Saints church boasts a splendid William Morris stained glass window and a very long-established colony of Natterer’s bats.

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