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The Bats and the Citrus House

Margam Country Park is “bat rich”:

There are maternity colonies of Pipistrelles at the adjacent Orangery building, Daubenton's bats at a nearby tree roost, Long-eared bats in the Abbey with Lesser Horseshoe, Nathusius' Pipistrelle and Myotis species roosting at other sites in the surrounding parkland and buildings. Indeed, there are few buildings within the park that do not have records of roosting bats.

As the restoration of the historic Citrus and Propagation Houses required extensive building work a strategy was agreed to include a range of bat specific adaptations within the renovation work. These improved and enhanced the building, making it more attractive for bats to roost in.

The improvements were:-

  • Places that offer bats a place to roost within the walls were created and improved.
  • The boiler for the Citrus House heating was installed in the ‘Apple Store’ room (next to the propagation house). The warmth from this would increase the attractiveness of the building to bats.
  • The Apple & Central Stores had under-roof felt fitted to give a skin cavity suitable for crevice roosting species.
  • The dividing wall between the Central porch and the central Store had stones removed to ensure free bat-passage; this will ensure free bat movement.
  • Ceiling hatches are closed & locked, to prevent disturbance /light/draught from below.
  • Front wall open eaves were partially blocked (noggins) but with crawl-in bat spaces left.
  • The ceiling space above the boiler was improved for both crevice roosting and attic-roosting species of bat.
  • One improvement was to close off the attic entrance space with a panel to slow the flow of air through the attic. A letter box "fly-in" access was provided specifically for horseshoe and Long eared bats.