Vinters Valley is an urban nature reserve, sandwiched between two housing estates in Maidstone (close to junction 7 of the M20), which contains two winter hibernation sites and also a small lake, where bats can often be found feeding during the summer. The hibernation sites have been monitored by the Kent Bat Group (KBG), since 1994, as part of the Bat Conservation Trusts (BCT) winter hibernation survey programme. In addition, two Soprano Pipistrelle maternity roosts have also been found with 0.5km of the reserve in the last 2 years.
In May 2010 it was decided to try out the “Kent” Bat Box, to see if it would be used by bats in the neighbourhood. Six boxes were built and placed in trees within 250 metres of the lake and just left to weather and become part of the surroundings. No monitoring took place until December 2011, at which stage the boxes were viewed externally with binoculars for signs of bats. It was pleasing to note that five out of the six showed signs of use by bats, primarily via urine staining on the outside of the boxes.
Following these promising results, a further 19 boxes have now been made and placed on trees around the whole of the nature reserve and a regular monitoring programme begun. Surveys will be conducted from the ground, using binoculars and Clulite torches, to establish usage by bats over the coming years.
Additionally, we have now offered the boxes for adoption to friends & visitors of the reserve at a price of £7.50 per year (an ideal Xmas and birthday present) with the funds going towards our bat conservation programme.
It is pleasing to see that these boxes have proved so successful and given their relatively cheap cost, ease of construction, erection and monitoring I would recommend their use to any cash strapped conservation group, in these times of austerity. I would also like to thank the BCT , KBG & Lloyd Bore Ltd for making the design so freely available via the internet , helping both the conservation of bats and allowing small community groups to engage with nature in a meaningful way.
If you would like to adopt a bat box please click here to request the “Adopt” form.
Once complete, please return it to the address provided on the form.
Thank you to everyone who has already adopted one.