Ecology sets the tone at Sulis Down, Bath

Bat barn

Countryside, the UK’s leading mixed-tenure developer, has put ecology at the forefront, creating a bat barn and undertaking reptile studies at its Sulis Down scheme on the southern edge of the City of Bath.

The first people on the 16.4-acre site, are wildlife consultants who have been working with both Bath & NE Somerset Council and Natural England to put in place ecological measures to safeguard wildlife ahead of the start of wider work on the 171-home development.  

The team from Kestrel Wildlife Consultants, based in the South West, have been undertaking survey work and overseeing the building of a bat barn which, like the development itself, has been sensitively designed and incorporates the use of natural Bath Stone.

Man-made bat roosts are designed to provide stable micro-climates for bats and are essential in supporting the survival of many bat species. Just like people, bats are looking for shelter that is clean, comfortable and secure and may live in several different roosts at different times of year. Different species of bats also have different roosting requirements. Temperature is an important factor for bats and they look for warm roosts in the summer and cool roosts in the winter.

Dr Laurent Duvergé from Kestrel Wildlife Consultants said:

“The greater and lesser horseshoe bats, which are known to commute and forage along the southern edge of the site, are two of the rarer species of bats found in the UK. We designed the barns specifically to cater for their needs and to give them a secure foothold and roost in the area. We will be monitoring the barns over the next few years to determine bat numbers and activity in the area and will be carrying out additional tree planting in the autumn to increase their foraging areas.”

In addition to the bat barn, preparation is underway to translocate reptiles ahead of the works required to prepare the site for development.

Darren Dancey, Managing Director, South West, Countryside, commented:

“At Countryside, we are proud not only to be delivering new sustainable communities but preserving the biodiversity of the areas surrounding our developments. Preserving local ecology and species such as bats was always a priority before commencing work at Sulis Down and that’s why we are thrilled to have the bat barn in place early. Working closely with the team at Kestrel Wildlife Consultants, we are confident the barns will serve the needs of these rarer species and we look forward to growing their foraging areas later this year.”

Find out more and register your interest for Sulis Down here.