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.
The church was restored in the 1850s and many of the interior fittings and furnishings are Victorian, although the stone tub font is medieval.
The church interior is spartan, elegant and harmonious, with the daylight flooding through the traceried windows reflected by the bare stone walls. The tranquillity of the church will be threatened by HS2 which is expected to pass around 300m to the south-west.
Due to the large numbers of bats using the church, services could no longer be held inside the building. However, following bat mitigation works in Autumn 2020 the church was able to celebrate with a Christmas service and is now back in use as a place of worship.
St Lawrence’s church is home to a large, well-established and important maternity colony of around 200 Natterer’s bats, as well as a smaller number of common pipistrelles.
Sadly, the resulting mess and smell from the large number of bats roosting inside the church building has meant that it can no longer be used as a place of worship and services were suspended in June 2016.
Following licensed surveys in 2019, the ecologist, in consultation with the PCC and with the agreement of heritage experts, devised a plan to create a roost and flight space within a false ceiling in the chancel and also to enhance the roosting options in the bell tower.
The aim is to secure the bat roosts and significantly reduce the amount of bat mess inside the church by separating the roosting areas from the main body of the church and preventing the bats from accessing the church interior. More details can be found here.
The work was carried out in October 2020 and the bats have been seen using the new roost areas.
Monitoring will continue for several years to ensure the bat colony at St Lawrence continues to thrive.