Safeguarding lesser horseshoe bats in the upper Usk Valley
The Our Beacon for Bats project is a three- year project, funded by the Brecon Beacons Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund and Environment Agency Wales, which is building on lesser horseshoe bat conservation work carried out by The Vincent Wildlife Trust over many years.
The project area covers the Usk Valley in South Wales, from Brecon to Crickhowell, which has one of the most significant populations of lesser horseshoe bats in Europe. Here, the Trust manages five lesser horseshoe bat maternity roosts and this project takes the conservation of the bats one step further, beyond their roosts and into the wider landscape.
We are raising awareness of the importance of lesser horseshoe bats in the upper Usk Valley by working with local people, schools and community groups and providing opportunities for people to learn about the ecology and environmental needs of this bat species. We are also providing local landowners with guidance towards enhancing a lesser horseshoe bat landscape, together with identifying important landscape features for the bats in order to help inform local land-use decisions.
To keep up-to-date with the progress of the project you can read our e-newsletters, produced March 2012 and December 2012 (also available in Welsh).
Winter is the time for tree planting. The OB4B project is currently working with local landowners to enhance bat habitats. So far this year with the aid of Environment Agency Wales, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and lots of volunteers we have planted nearly 3,000 trees, which will create wet woodland to improve foraging habitats for lesser horseshoe bats and other wildlife.
May – September: Farm hedgerow surveys using static bat detectors- surveys all summer, local volunteers wanted. Opportunities for training using anabat bat detectors, downloading and analysing bats calls.
May – September: Installing bat boxes and lesser horseshoe bat night roosts in various sites in the upper Usk Valley with The Green Valleys group.
June: Lesser horseshoe bat road crossing survey. Volunteers wanted to find out where bats cross the A40 near Bwlch. Continuation of 2012 survey. Dates tbc.
July: Bats, moths and BBQ at Gilestone Farm. Celebratory event for volunteers. Date tbc
August 3rd: Brecon Show: Come along and see our stand in partnership with Beacons National Park. Competitions, bat facts and much more!
August 7th: Bat Walk at the Prom, Brecon. With partners Brecknockshire Wildlife Trust, Brecon Beacons National Park and Brecknock Bat Group. Learn about bat ecology, watch bat behaviour and hear their echo-location calls using bat detector equipment on this family friendly event. Booking essential on 01874 623366.
September: Bat and moth night, in partnership with Brecknock Bat Group and Moth Group Tretower Court. Date tbc.
If you are interested in attending any of these events or leaning more about the project, please contact project officer Jane Sedgeley.
WANTED - Hibernation sites
A lack of hibernation sites may be a limiting factor for lesser horseshoe bats in the upper Usk Valley. Please contact Jane if you know of any ice houses, unheated cellars or WW2 pillboxes in the area.
The Our Beacon for Bats project is funded by the Brecon Beacons Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund.