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
Large church surrounded by grass and with a separate octagonal belfy next to it

Pembridge, St Mary the Virgin

Perched on a gentle rise above the charming “black and white” Herefordshire village of Pembridge, the medieval Grade I listed church of St Mary’s, and its associated bell tower, form important features in the Pembridge Conservation Area.

Stone church exterior from east with bench and gravestones

Radstone, St Lawrence

At the end of a narrow, grassy footpath lies the serene medieval church of St Lawrence in the tiny rural hamlet of Radstone. Dating from C12th and C13th, with the south aisle and porch added in C14th, this Grade I listed church is renowned for its peaceful atmosphere.

A brass lectern showing an eagle with two heads standing on a globe

Redenhall, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

A local landmark with a soaring, decorated flint tower and a rare double headed eagle lectern. Home to Pipistrelle and Natterer’s bats

A tall, stone, table tomb with niches and figures around the side and two carved lying effigies on top

Rippingale, St Andrew’s

A Lincolnshire village church with rare table tombs, and Pipistrelle bats roosting in the Medival roof timbers

Stone medieval church with bell tower and 19th century brick chancel

Rushden, St Mary

This pretty Grade II* listed church comprises a C15th west tower, a C14th nave and a small chancel rebuilt in brick in 1849.

The exterior of a small church with an intricate bell tower made of wood

Salford, St Mary the Virgin

St Mary’s, Salford, is listed Grade 1

An alabaster statue of a woman wearing a ruff and tudor gown, praying with clasped hands

Saxlingham, St Margaret

Home to one of the largest Natterer’s bat colonies of any church in the country. We’re organising major internal works to protect the church from bat damage.

A church roof with multicoloured painted angels on the hammer beams

South Creake, Our Lady St Mary

A busy church with an angel roof, modern sculpture, and a colony of Pipistrelle bats living in the chancel arch.

An alabaster monument of a dead woman, eyes closed, peaceful

Stanford on Avon, St Nicholas

This wonderful church was built in the fourteenth century

Image shows the exterior of Stevington Church and its graveyard

Stevington, St Mary the Virgin

St Mary Stevington is blessed with a holy well

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