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.

Our projects

We have over 100 projects across England aiming to protect bats and the amazing heritage buildings they call home.

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  • East Anglia
  • Midlands and the North
  • South
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 exterior of a church with white walls, red tiled roof and a red stone tower

Wiggenhall, St Mary The Virgin

In the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, full of intricately carved bench ends and a Medieval screen.

stone church exterior with large windows

Willington, St Lawrence

More information on our work with this church coming soon. Please contact us if you would like to find out more.

A dark photo of a church exterior

Wimbish, All Saints

More information on our work with this church coming soon. Please contact us if you would like to find out more.

Church at dusk with dramatic sky behind steeple

Winteringham, St Peter

This exceptional Grade I listed medieval church, dedicated to St Peter, is cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust.

The round tower of a church, made from regular small bricks

Witton, St Margaret

A round tower church with Saxon stonework and a stunning view out to the Norfolk coast. We’re commissioning full surveys of the bats and the church heritage to see how we can help here.

A font at the font of the photo, then a view up the aisle of a church to a clear glass window

Wood Dalling, St Andrew

A festival church hosting exhibitions and events as well as services. We’re commissioning surveys of the bat roost and the church heritage to see how we can help.

Help us find out how bats are using churches across England

By surveying your local churches for bats

Bat species recorded
churches surveyed
volunteers helping

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 is working 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.

Partnership

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 will run until the end of 2023. We have already 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're helping churches find, simple sustainable solutions. We run regular cleaning workshops, training and masterclasses and provide covers and protection for historic monuments and artefacts. We have resources to help churches run schools workshops, events and other activities and free online training as well. We celebrate bats in churches through our own events, online talks and our new children's book.

The project runs 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
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