#SavingSpecialSpecies Projects

The Grey long-eared bat needs our help. With UK population estimates as low as 1000, they are our rarest bat and one of our most ‘at risk’ mammals. We need to act now to prevent their extinction.

Did you know?...

The grey long-eared bat is also known as a whispering bat?

Hunting at night, these ‘true night riders’ feed on moths and other insects, but their echolocation is so quiet they can hover in front of fluttering moths undetected before catching the unsuspecting prey!


With only 8 known maternity roosts remaining in the UK, two are located in East Devon within the Axe Valley and form a vital link between the other colonies across the south coast of England and the two colonies in south Devon.

But there’s a risk of losing this link and colonies becoming isolated from each other, as foraging sites and commuting routes disappear and are fragmented by landscape changes resulting from changing agricultural practices.

The risk with colonies becoming increasingly isolated is that there is no mixing of genetic materials between colonies, which is vital for the long term survival of the species.

Working in partnership with Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) our ‘Return of the True Night Rider’ project will focus on improving this crucial connectivity to the known roosts in Dorset – enhancing foraging and commuting routes to the east of the AONB and into the neighbouring county.


Together with BCT, we made a successful bid to the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund for £69K to support the ‘Return of the true Night Rider’ project and help us involve local communities, individuals and groups in conservation action.

At a time when the need for urgent action to tackle the decline in biodiversity has never been greater, we’re hugely excited about what it will enable us to achieve

  • The project will seek to enhance the floral interest of 18 ha of grassland, this will support a greater diversity of insects which will support the bats, as well as other animals, and will also improve the amount of carbon stored in the soil.
  • We will engage with 50 landowners and farmers to tell them more about how to manage their land for the bats.
  • We have also set ourselves a challenging target of talking to 500 local people about the bats, the challenges that they face and the importance of floristically rich grassland.
  • We will fund a Project Officer to work with local landowners, to champion unimproved grassland and its value for grey long eared bat conservation and to provide advice about grassland management to increase flower-rich conditions for the bats and biodiversity in general.
  • We will employ an Engagement Officer to work with local communities to raise the profile of this very rare species and enhance local understanding of the value of flower rich meadows and the challenges the bats face in the landscape.



  • February 2021 – Project start date 
  • February 2022 – Project end date 



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