What we do

The bat group is active across Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire, from the Lambourn Downs to the Kennet and Thames valleys and from the wooded areas around Windsor Great Park to the Chilterns of south Buckinghamshire. Throughout the year we undertake a range of activities. Below are examples of some of the work we do.

These include the West Berkshire Living Landscape Project where bat group members check bat boxes at BBOWT reserves Bowdown Woods, Crookham and Greenham Commons; the National Nathusius Pipistrelle project where bat group members trapg bats at various sites by waterbodies to try and find this elusive and little-known species

The bat group has a number of bat box schemes across the county. The boxes are checked and regularly maintained. The boxes provide homes for bats and help us monitor bat populations at the various locations. If you are interested in helping at one of our bat box checks visit our calendar page to see when the next check is happening.

The bat group uses various techniques to monitor the range of species and the condition of bats at various times of the year. Under the supervision of licensed bat workers, active bats are caught using mist nets or harp traps, then inspected, weighed and measured before being released a short time later. If you are interested in attending to help with the inspection and recording activities visit our calendar page to see when the next monitoring event is happening.

The bat group supports the National Bat Monitoring Program (NBMP) which is run by the Bat Conservation Trust and involves identifying and counting bats through observation and use of bat detectors. Anyone can participate in NBMP surveys, which are true citizen science activities, and the bat group is happy to offer support and advice to those wishing to take part.

For many years the bat group has been involved in finding, creating, maintaining and monitoring hibernation sites. This is a great way to explore the county, visiting the hidden grottoes, follies, mines and caves and exploring hidden underground worlds looking for hibernating bats tucked away in crevices. Hibernaculum checks are open to members only.

Bat Rescue Berkshire is affiliated with the bat group and each year members of the network take in and care for grounded, injured and orphaned bats with the aim of releasing them when fit and well. If you have found a bat that needs help, call the National Bat Helpline on 0345 1300 228

Each year bat group members run bat walks and/or talks, usually at the request of a local group or organisation. Members are welcome to come along and help at any of the walks. If you are interested in attending a walk, view our calendar to see when the next one in your area is. If you would like us to provide a walk and/or talk to your group, email info(at)berksbats.org.uk. Please note that all of our walks and talks are conducted by volunteers and availability will depend on your area and whether there is anyone free on the date.

Over the winter months, while our furry friends are torpid, we continue our plotting, planning and scheming for the following year; and, to give us inspiration and added enthusiasm, from October to April we hold monthly meetings, including talks from guest speakers or members of the group, along with training sessions and our AGM.

Bat group training is delivered in a variety of formats, many of them quite informal, as when attending box checking or monitoring events. More formal training is also given by qualified trainers with the aim of enabling people to appreciate bats more and, if they wish, to obtain licences which give the opportunity to work in more advanced voluntary roles, including that of Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor. Bat group training is of value to people working towards being licensed for professional activities, but the group does not endorse applications for professional licences.

A little history

The bat group was founded in the mid-1980s by Andrew Watson, one of a handful of people in Britain studying and conserving bats BC “Before Conservation” in the 1950s and 60s. Andrew effectively trained all of the original members to get the group off the ground. In 1990 it became the Reading and District bat group, chaired by Paula Cox, finally becoming the Berks & South Bucks bat group around 1998. After a quiet period in the 2000s, we started to become more active again around 2009.

Today the bat group is made up of a group of volunteers from all walks of life and with a variety of backgrounds, some of whom were originally trained by Andrew, but we are all equally batty about bats.

Committee members

James Shipman

Kay Mekka

Bridget Parslow
Secretary/Membership secretary

Elaine Charlson

Bob Brittain
Records officer

Claire Andrews
Training officer

John Wenman
Training officer

Charlotte Allchin
Indoor meetings coordinator

Rose-Ann Movsovic
Public engagement