more about the NEWS from:  
UK / February 2001 by Henry Schofield
A new record for Gwynedd, North Wales!
The Gwynedd Bat Group goes underground during the winter to monitor hibernating lesser horseshoe bats. We occasionally see other species roosting in the same site - usually long-eared bats, Natterer's or Daubenton's bats, but were completely surprised to find a greater horseshoe bat in February this year. The bat was roosting in a mine which is also used by up to 28 lesser horseshoe bats and lies in a woodland at the northern end of the Conwy Valley. The two horseshoe species are noticeably different in size - the lesser is usually described as the size of a plum compared to the greater bat, which is about the size of a pear. Nevertheless, it was still a surprising find as there have been no records of this species this far north and west. There are historic records of individual greater horseshoe bats some 60 miles to the South in Snowdonia in the nineteenth century. One was shot at Barmouth and another "taken" from a mine Dolgellau. This one was treated more gently and was handled briefly so that the ring on its left wing could be examined. The number on the ring was traced back to a bat worker in Gloucestershire. The bat - a male - had been born at Dean Hall, near Cinderford, Gloucestershire at end of June 1999 and was ringed there by David Priddis on 4th July 1999. He had been seen in the same loft a week later but had not been seen since. Dean Hall is an old roost where greater horseshoe bats have been known to roost for over 100 years and as the site seems to have had continuous human occupation since Roman times, perhaps they have been there for hundreds of years. There are usually about 45 babies and 115 adults and this is the most Northerly English breeding roost. One bat from Gloucestershire turned up in Ashby-de-la-Zouche in Leicestershire a few years ago. This was over 80 miles and the second Leicestershire greater horseshoe. There are roosts of greater horseshoe bat in South Wales, but until this recent discovery, the furthest north record for Wales in recent times was of individuals hibernating in mines in Powys and the south of Clwyd. Whether this one is an isolated individual or whether other greater horseshoes have also made it this far remains to be seen - there are too few licensed bat workers to monitor all the mines in the County, so there certainly could be other greater horseshoe bats in other locations as yet undiscovered. At least this one is in a safe place - if he chooses to stay. The mine had already been grilled (with funding from the Woodland Trust, Countryside Council for Wales and the Peoples' Trust for Endangered Species) to protect the bats from disturbance. If you have any information on the location of bat roosts in Gwynedd, the Gwynedd Bat Group will be pleased to hear from you - contact me:
webmaster / template 18 June 2001