Membership, Bat Boxes, GHS talk, Mitigation Roosts – 4Feb23

In this packed bat group newsletter, we have:

  1. It is time to check the renewal of your bat group membership for 2023/4
  2. Bat Box lead surveyors needed for West Somerset
  3. You are invited to an online talk on Greater Horseshoes and modelling, from researcher Tom Foxley from UWE.
  4. We are trying to map all the bat mitigation roosts in Somerset, and we need your help!
  5. Come along to our AGM – Sat 22nd April at Otherly Village hall and Zoom
  6. We need you on the bat group committee! Secretary and NBMP Champion roles are currently vacant
  7. The South West regional bat conference is now open for bookings
  8. The latest bat group bulletin, which includes essential updates on government policy, and a reminder about Covid-19 and bats

1/ Time to check your bat group membership

All bat group memberships lapse at our AGM each year. So if you last paid your bat group membership:

  • In 2023 (or late 2022), or paid for multi-years, then your bat group membership is up to date until our 2024 AGM on 27th April 2024. There is no need to do anything.
  • In 2022, then your membership expires soon, on 22nd April 2023. Please renew now.
  • In 2021, (or earlier if you took advantage of free renewals during Covid), then your bat group membership has lapsed. You will only get one more email reminder from the bat group, hence please re-join now.

We will email all past and present members, to let everyone know the status of their SBG membership.

To renew or re-join the bat group please go to our website:

  1. Complete the simple smart online application form, and ensure you click the final submit button. If you don’t receive a nearly instant email confirmation of the details you submitted then it is possible the form was not saved (submitted) and we haven’t got your details. Please try again
  2. Arrange for payment of your £5 per household subs (free for unwaged). You can do this via bank transfer (BaCs), or Paypal.

Remember, bat group members are the first to hear about our events, via our monthly email newsletter.

2/ Bat Box lead surveyors needed for West Somerset

We’ve got a few sets of bat boxes around the county that were put-up in the 2000-teens but then haven’t been checked for a number of years. We’re keen for these boxes to be checked twice a year along with the other bat boxes around the county – May and September.

The boxes are located in:

  • Holford Keating, Quantock Hills. This is a small nature reserve along the river and there are 5 boxes.
  • Huish Moor, Brendon Hills. Another small nature reserve which has 6 boxes.
  • Ruggin, Blackdown Hills. Just off the Butterfly Conservation Nature Reserve and there are 4 boxes.

To monitor these boxes you will need a Level 2 Survey License and some time each May and September to do the checks. They are quite high and require a 5-section ladder, but the bat group can provide you with a ladder if you don’t have access to one.

Please contact us if you can help:

3/ Talk – Greater Horseshoes in Somerset – Sat March 18th

It has been a while since the bat group has held group talks, but we are now back with an online event.

Researcher Tom Foxley from the Ecology and Conservation Research Lab at the University of the West of England will present his research on Greater Horseshoes across greater Somerset.

A novel, integrated approach to landscape-level strategic conservation planning for the greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) in Somerset
“The aim of my PhD research is to build a detailed picture of how greater horseshoe bats use the landscape in Somerset. I’m using spatial modelling, ground-truthed with acoustic and telemetry studies, to map areas of important habitat and understand how they connect. I will be providing my results to local authorities in Somerset, enabling local decision makers to develop a regional conservation strategy that minimises the impact of development on greater horseshoe bats.”

4/ Bat mitigation roosts in Somerset

During a recent committee meeting, we were discussing bat mitigation roosts, and wondering how many have been constructed in Somerset? Guesses varied, but probably “over one hundred” seemed as good a guess as any.

Hence we thought, as a bat group should try to put some facts behind this, and find out.

We know that many of our members are professional ecologists who will have been involved in the specification or creation of Bat Mitigation roost projects. We also know that most of these will be a matter of public record, as the details about them will be stored in planning portals, alongside planning applications.

Hence if you know of a Bat Mitigation roost created in Somerset (and the details are public) then please email us the details so we can start to build a database of them:

We would also be interested to hear of any Bat Box mitigation schemes on a similar basis, if there were more than 5 bat boxes erected on a site.


We will hold our 2023 AGM, in Othery Village Hall again, central Somerset

If you would prefer not to attend in person, we hope to stream the meeting via Zoom.

However, it is worth pointing out, that as we found last year, trying to Zoom a meeting where many people in the same room are all online, can be a frustrating (and deafening) view. Hence please do come along in person if you would like to fully contribute

Agenda, accounts and committee pre-meeting reports will be posted here in the first week of April 2023.
Last years 2022 AGM minutes and accounts can also be found on the same page

If you would like to:

  • raise any matter as AOB at the AGM,
  • stand for the committee of SBG, 
  • or send your apologies if you can’t attend

Then please email us before 1st April 2023:

6/ We need you on the bat group committee!

There is always more to do in the bat world than hours in the day, and hence we are always looking for keen people to come forward to help out on the SBG committee.

At a minimum this can be a very low commitment:

  • One annual committee meeting each January, to plan the year ahead.
  • One or two committee emails a week, for the committee’s input.

However, if you have more time, then there is a lot more to get involved in! With a couple of key roles currently being vacant:

If you would like to join the committee, please do email us before the AGM – somersetbatgroup@somersetbatgroup

7/ South West regional bat conference

Booking for the South West Regional Bat Conference is now open!

The hybrid one day conference will be held on Saturday 25th March at Tiverton campus of Petroc College, and online via zoom.

We have taken on board feedback from the Regional Conference Consultation that ran last year when creating the programme. You can see a draft version of the programme at:

This year there is a slight change of format, with the introduction of longer talks, mostly in the morning session. There are still two workshop sessions, with a 90-minute workshop in the morning and a 60-minute workshop after lunch. You may also notice the absence of the 5-minute spotlight talks from bat groups. The feedback from the consultation showed that longer talks would be preferred over these. However we do still want to share the great work the bat groups have been up to! So there will be a new section in the event app, where bat groups can provide short updates. There is also the opportunity for bat groups, and individuals, to display posters in the exhibition area about their work.

  • In-person tickets, that include a vegetarian lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments are £45 for BCT/partner bat group members and £50 for non-members.
  • Virtual tickets are £25 for BCT/partner bat group members and £30 for non-members.

You can find the booking links for both ticket types on the website above.

I hope to see many of you there,

Kind regards, Abby Packham, Bat Groups Officer


The latest edition includes essential updates on government policy, a reminder about Covid-19 and bats, and much more: