Thursday 3 May 2018

Twilight Bat Walks

by David Jackson from Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

In the United Kingdom we have 18 species of bat, all are insectivorous and a great environmental indicator. A single bat can eat up to 3000 midges in one night making them an excellent natural insect controller, but unfortunately over the last century their populations have declined, making each roost important for future survival. Due to their decline, bats and their roosts are protected under UK and European law with a roost defined as any place that a wild bat uses and is protected whether bats are present or not.

At Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, we are proud to have high bat activity around our Broomfield Hospital site, with a bat roost of Soprano Pipistrelles known and monitored for several years.  Both Soprano & Common Pipistrelles have been found foraging within our natural areas, feeding on insects during their summer months and highlighting our effective natural management on site. 

Bat walks offer a unique educational opportunity to experience these intriguing creatures, and in 2016 we launched an inaugural Twilight Bat Walk Programme, led by a local bat enthusiast.  The walks proved to be a huge success, providing education in an endangered species whilst promoting healthy walking alternatives within Broomfield Hospital and community.  Following on from these walks, a larger Twilight Programme was produced for the summer of 2017.  

A stunning 400% increase in participation occurred, with over 100 individuals expressing interest, comprising of staff, patients and members of our local community.  David Jackson, the bat enthusiast, and now the Trust’s Sustainability Project Coordinator said ‘It’s been great to see the walk participation increase so quickly…educating those in our community about endangered species is hugely valuable to their future conservation, whilst achieving it through the promotions of an active lifestyle.’ 

Supported by the Essex Bat Group and Heart & Sole Walking Scheme the 2018 Twilight Programme is now available.  Join us with friends and family to experience the hospital site bat activity and roost.  What will you find? 

The Bat Walk Dates 
25th May, starts 8:30pm 
13th July, starts 8:45pm 
27th July, starts 8:25pm 
17th August, starts 7:45pm 
7th September, starts 7:00pm

Spaces are limited, on a first come first serve basis.  If you’d like to express an interest please contact David Jackson on or 01245 514558.  

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