Nestled into an existing woodland glade, a new bat barn for brown long-eared bats has recently been constructed. Designed by FPCR’s Architecture team in close collaboration with our Arboriculturalists, the elevated structure replaces a maternity roost found in a nearby former army barracks mess loft space which is to be converted.
Situated deep within a new Area of Natural Greenspace (ANGSt), the project posed some interesting challenges for construction and site access, in which off-site manufactured structural insulated panels (SIPs) were chosen to provide the best balance between efficiency and manoeuvrability. The bat box is lined internally with spruce plywood and externally finished in locally sourced Douglas Fir weatherboard and handmade red clay plain tiles.
Bat accesses are provided to the roof tiles, ridge tiles and gable ends, with a variety of roosting opportunities created to give the bats the best chance of adapting to their new environment. These include bat boxes externally, two levels internally to create subtly different temperatures, bespoke Douglas Fir roosting panels, exposed ridge beam and floor joists, and additional timber battens fixed to the walls – all of which give different sized crevices for the bats to enjoy.
Surrounded by a rich mix of mature existing trees including Scots Pine, Silver Birch, Sweet Chestnut and English Oak, the tree canopy clearing will be pruned biennially so that the bat barn temperature is kept in a suitable range. In the coming months, new native species hedgerow and scrub mix planting alongside deadwood log piles will surround the structure. These will knit the bat barn into its context both aesthetically and ecologically, helping to create a valuable addition to the biodiversity of the area and a robust boundary to the site.
FPCR have also prepared a maintenance and management plan to aid the custodians in retaining the structure in perpetuity.