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Bat Survey of SSSI

Bradgate Park is one of the finest remaining examples of ancient parkland in Leicestershire, and is listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Covering an area of over 800 acres the park is haven for people and wildlife including several species of bat.

Making Sense of Bats in TreesAs part of the Parkland Plan, developed in combination with Natural England a tree survey in spring 2014 identified a number of veteran and ancient trees that required tree surgery to maximise their lifespan. Bradgate Park Trust engaged Lockhart Garratt to survey the trees for bat roosts prior to the works. This was done initially via a ground based survey aided by a sub-meter GPS, which specifically focused on the likely impacts of the proposed works. Our bat specialist, James Whiteford, worked closely with the Bradgate Park team and Natural England before and during the surveys.

eco-3The survey found evidence of bats within the trees in the form of droppings, feeding remains and staining around access holes. Climber based surveys were then completed in association with Park staff, and the presence of common pipistrelles roosting within trees was confirmed. The use of a video recording endoscope helped confirm the roost as active and showed the Bradgate Park staff instant, high quality pictures of bats within the trees.

James Whiteford provided training to the Bradgate Park staff to improve their bat survey skills and knowledge  
The aim of the training is for Bradgate Park staff to take on greater responsibility for managing the bat issues on site going forward, whilst complying with Natural England and Bat Conservation Trust guidance.

eco-4Lockhart Garratt also digitally mapped all of the park’s features in GIS format using data from our sub-metre accurate GPS units.  Combined with ongoing training, this will improve the park team?s knowledge of the constraints and opportunities of the park and also reduce the amount of consultant support that Bradgate Park Trust need to fund in future years.

“The Bradgate Park Trust engaged Lockhart Garratt to advise us on the surveying and management of bats in our nationally important collection of ancient and veteran trees in advance of arboricultural work being carried out. The advice given was pertinent and timely and the training given to our staff was comprehensive and pitched at exactly the right level. The Lockhart Garratt team were a pleasure to deal with.”

Peter Tyldesley, Estate Manager, Bradgate Park Trust

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