Rare bat find in Suffolk wood

BAT experts are today celebrating the discovery of one of Britain's rarest species in an ancient woodland being preserved by Suffolk Wildlife Trust.The trust has discovered that Captains Wood near Sudbourne is a haven for barbastelle bats, a species which has been highlighted for special conservation action by the government.

BAT experts are today celebrating the discovery of one of Britain's rarest species in an ancient woodland being preserved by Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

The trust has discovered that Captains Wood near Sudbourne is a haven for barbastelle bats, a species which has been highlighted for special conservation action by the government.

A team of 19 people from Suffolk Bat Group, equipped with bat detectors and recorders, carried out a survey in the 56-hectare woodland and found it was home to barbastelles and six other bat species.

Alan Miller, a member of Suffolk Bat Group, said: “The object was to identify which species are found in the wood, establish the core areas of activity and help pinpoint roost sites. These factors will then be used in guiding the management of the site.


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“The first breeding colony of barbastelle was only discovered less than ten years ago with few new ones being discovered since.

“The only known East Anglian colony is in Norfolk. Several Suffolk locations are thought to contain a breeding colony but further survey work is required to confirm this.

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“The chance of Captains Wood holding breeding barbastelle is extremely high.”

The six other bat species found in the wood were natterers, serotine, noctule, soprano pipistrelle, common brown long-eared and the common pipistrelle.

Mr Miller said: “The survey has revealed the importance of the wood and further survey work is needed to understand how bats use the site throughout the year.

“A daytime survey identifying and mapping all of the currently suitable trees would aid future management decisions and reduce the chance of accidentally destroying any roosts.”

Captains Wood was purchased by Suffolk Wildlife Trust last year following donations from the public and an urgent grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund after the ancient wood pasture was put up for sale on the open market.

The wood is home to veteran oaks more than 400 years old as well as nesting barn owls and herds of fallow deer.

Weblink: www.suffolkwildlife.co.uk

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