Bats in the belfry – a recent project

Gill Pedler, Church Growth Trust’s architect tells the story of her recent encounter with bats.

Whilst undertaking a re-roofing project on one of our properties, I encountered the presence of bats. I know they are a protected species and that we should not proceed without advice, so I consulted our briefing paper on bats and called the Bat Conservation Trust helpline to find out what I might need to do.

The Trust helped us find local ecologist Brett Lewis of Lewis Ecology, who provided me with his expertise and support throughout the rest of our project. Firstly, Brett and his team carried out a series of surveys at dusk and dawn, to coincide with the most active period for bats. He found that the building provided a number of potential roost features together with excellent foraging opportunities throughout the grounds. Brett and his team observed several bats swarming and a single Brown Long-eared bat entering the roof at the ridge, in the early hours one morning.

To comply with the law we needed to take steps to avoid disturbing the bats or destroying their roosts. For our particular roof and the bats that occupied it, we would need to programme the works from the beginning of September and the end of October (i.e. when the maternity period for bats has ended and before they enter into hibernation). Brett provided a watching brief whilst the works were carried out, so that he could safely relocate any bats that might be found, as the roof structure became exposed. Our contractor was very helpful and accommodating to Brett during this process.

Then to encourage the bats back to the roof, after the works were complete, we replaced some of the tiles with “Bat Access Tiles”, which have a small opening to allow entry into the roof void. These tiles help encourage biodiversity and create new opportunities for bats.

Here are some useful links:

Bats and Churches

Bats, Buildings & Development

You can also view Church Growth Trust’s briefing paper on bats on CGT’s website. If you wish to discuss a particular building project, please call Gill Pedler on 01536 647162 or email her on

Foundations Spring 2018