Question: how do you protect a colony of bats when you want to restore the building they live in? Answer: with a bit of imagination and a lot of enthusiasm, you create temporary lodgings and meanwhile get builders to incorporate a five-star bat hotel into the original building.
Tarmac faced the challenge when it sought permission to restore a 17th century listed farmhouse at its Halecombe Quarry in Somerset. The roof void contained a colony of lesser horseshoe bats with sporadic visits from greater horseshoe bats and brown long-eared bats.
The necessary development licence from Natural England resulted in this alternative bat house for the horseshoe bats. It has its own roosting area and a nursery box in the eaves.
The bats were also given a hand with directions through the creation of an earth bank as a sheltered commuting route to the temporary accommodation. Native trees and shrubs were planted on the bank to provide food along the way.
Meanwhile, builders set about restoring the farmhouse, including a bat loft with its own roosting with an access gable and internal landing hopper.