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
A stone doorway with a round arch. the door is surrounded by pillars and concentric arches each carved in regular geometric patterns

Mundham, St Peter

A neat little Norfolk church hiding a stunning Norman doorway. We’re commissioning full surveys of the bats and the church heritage to see how we can help here.

Stone church as sun is setting with shadows and yew trees

Nempnett Thrubwell, The Blessed Virgin Mary

The remote, peaceful church of The Blessed Virgin Mary houses a fine oak rood loft and screen separating the nave and the chancel, as well as a large maternity colony of soprano pipistrelles.

A stained glass window showing a brown long eared bat against clear glass surrounded by yellow scrolls

Netherseal, St Peter

Originally C13th with a C15th tower St Peter’s was rebuilt in the 1870s. A beautiful stained glass bat graces the St Francis window.

Pretty stone church with unusual octagonal stair turret on south side

Newton Blossomville, St Nicholas

St Nicholas is home to a colony of pipistrelle bats that historically roost in the North Chapel.

Stone church with red tiled roof with door in south transept and bench

North Piddle, St Michael and All Angels

The simple, peaceful church of St Michael and All Angels was originally built in 1289, but by the mid C19th the church had fallen into a poor state of repair. Rebuilding took place in 1876 by Henry Rowe of Worcester in the C14th Decorated style.

A Victorian 'Jesse Window' showing the family tree of Christ

Old Hunstanton, St Mary the Virgin

Tucked away in a pictureqsue village outside the seaside town of Hunstanton. We’re helping organise fundraising events and providing advice on cleaning.

A medieval wall painting showing the red outline of a bishop wearing a yellow mitre

Old Weston, St Swithin’s

A 13th century church full of wall paintings. We’re commissioning full surveys of the bats and the church heritage to see how we can help.

The interior of a very tall, whitewashed, light, bright church

Parson Drove, St John the Baptist

A Fenland church full of faces. Now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Peakirk, St Pega’s

An 11th century church sheltering a colony of Soprano Pipistrelles. We built bat boxes into the chancel roof to hopefully reduce the damage to the interior.

Detail of a brass dog from a funerary monument

Pebmarsh, St John the Baptist

The wonderful Essex church of St John the Baptist is listed Grade 1

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