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UK’s most endangered bat species discovered in south Norfolk village

PUBLISHED: 05:30 19 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:18 19 August 2020

Red listed endangered bat species the Barbastelle. Photo: John Black

Red listed endangered bat species the Barbastelle. Photo: John Black

John Black

A village is leading the way in bat conservation, after efforts to record the nocturnal creatures revealed Norfolk is home to some of the most endangered species.

Janet Trewin has set up a bat detector in New Buckenham after a study showed the village is home to many species of bats on the endangered list.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Janet Trewin has set up a bat detector in New Buckenham after a study showed the village is home to many species of bats on the endangered list. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Janet Trewin, a journalist, from New Buckenham, has become “batty about bats” after she got involved with the Norfolk Bat Survey, which aims to educate communities and help researchers to record and identify different species.

The project was introduced by Dr Stuart Newson, senior research ecologist at the British Trust for Ornithology, back in 2013 and he has since set up locations across Norfolk where bat-lovers can borrow specialised equipment to find out exactly what has been flying around their homes at night.

And Ms Trewin, who has used the equipment in hundreds of locations around her village, has discovered New Buckenham is home to an array of bat species.

She said: “In 2016 I was put onto the neighbourhood planning committee, part of the parish council, but New Buckenham is a conservation village, we have listed buildings and a castle so we are not expected to build houses.

Dr Stuart Newson, senior research ecologist at the British Trust for Ornithology. Photo: Paul StancliffeDr Stuart Newson, senior research ecologist at the British Trust for Ornithology. Photo: Paul Stancliffe

“That doesn’t mean we won’t need to in future, so my thoughts were that we need to know how important the green scene is around us.

“That was when we found out there are very few records about the wildlife here.

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“So I found the Norfolk Bat Survey, I got a bat box and we quickly discovered that we had a completely surprising range of bats.”

Aerial view of New Buckenham village in Norfolk. Photo: Janet TrewinAerial view of New Buckenham village in Norfolk. Photo: Janet Trewin

There are 18 bat species recorded in the UK and at least nine were discovered in the village, which includes the brown long-eared bat, the Pipistrelle, Daubenton’s bat, Leisler’s bat, Noctule, Soprano pipistrelle and Natterer’s bat.

But the most important discoveries were the Barbastelle, a red listed species and the most endangered of all bats in the UK, and the Serotine.

Dr Newson said: “The New Buckenham findings are very interesting. We’re learning all the time. The range of bats is impressive and certainly wouldn’t be found in built up areas.

“Within Norfolk the Barbastelles are quite localised, but on a national scale you really see how important Norfolk is for bats.

Janet Trewin has set up a bat detector in New Buckenham after a study showed the village is home to many species of bats on the endangered list.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Janet Trewin has set up a bat detector in New Buckenham after a study showed the village is home to many species of bats on the endangered list. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

“I think it is quite surprising that people who didn’t know about bats are now real advocates for bat conservation in that little village.”

Ms Trewin added: “The fields, the village allotments, the church yard, these kinds of things are all features that matter.

“We have discovered we have some the most endangered bats here, it’s great fun and simple to do, but most importantly we now have official records and we know how important it is to protect them, because bats like Norfolk too.

“There are all these other extraordinary creatures, the more people get involved, the more we will discover.”


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