This news story is now over a year old and information may no longer be accurate or up-to-date. It might also contain obsolete links.
Please use our search link on the left to look for more recent information.
The Forestry Commission is hoping its use of green energy at Grizedale Forest in the Lake District will help to boost the local bat population.
Suitable roosting sites are in short supply as the bats require the nooks and crannies normally found in old or dying trees, so the Forestry Commission has created artificial roosts at various sites around Grizedale.
A variety of box designs have been used to try to encourage different species to the area, including two maternity boxes in the roof space above Grizedale’s woodfuel burner, where bats will benefit from the extra warmth and constant temperatures of around 30 degrees centigrade.
The lighting around the visitor centre has also been modified so as to cause minimal disturbance to foraging bats.
Soprano and common pipistrelles, brown long eared, noctule and myotis species of bats have already been found to be using the area around the visitor centre, with some using the buildings as roosts.
Jon Beardsley, from the Forestry Commission at Grizedale, says:
“The bat boxes are part of the Forestry Commission’s ongoing bat conservation scheme to provide roosts in the FC woodlands where few natural ones are found. Figures from our on going schemes show bats using the FC estate in Cumbria are doing well. We hope the new opportunities brought by the boxes around the visitor centre will allow this to continue.
“The addition of maternity boxes in the woodfuel building, which should benefit from the stable, warm temperatures generated by the boiler, will hopefully encourage further breeding and boost numbers even further.”
The different box styles will be placed in public view outside the visitor centre, which will enable them to be used for educational purposes as well as roosts.
Graeme Prest, the Forest Manager in North West England, says:
“We’re pleased that Grizedale’s new woodfuel boiler is not only providing us with a more environmentally source of fuel but helping the local bat population. The Forestry Commission is committed to improving the biodiversity of England’s woodlands.
“Across Cumbria, our woods are important habitats for a range of different species. As well as bats, people can see the ospreys that nest in Dodd Wood during the spring and summer, red squirrels at Whinlatter and rare butterflies. And only last month we started a programme to reintroduce red kites to this part of the country.”
More information about Grizedale Forest can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/northwestengland
NOTES TO EDITOR:
The Forestry Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in Britain, with responsibility for more than one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of forest, woodlands and open countryside. The North West England Forest District covers the Lake District in Cumbria, the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire. The forests are managed for conservation, wildlife, landscape and recreation as well as providing a valuable source of timber.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Jon Beardsley or Sue Gardiner on 01229 862002.