Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

To the bat cave! Kent Wildlife Trust goes underground as part of the Sevenoaks Greensand Commons Project

In the second of our series of reports on the Sevenoaks Greensand Commons Project being carried out by the Kent Wildlife Trust, conservation and access officer Clare Russell goes underground into a bat cave with volunteers from the Kent Bat Group

CLARE was fortunate to be invited by the Kent Bat Group to help survey the hibernation roost sites at Hosey Common near Westerham in February. The area surveyed sits within the SSSI (Site for Special Scientific Interest), which is nationally recognised area of importance, in this case specifically designated for bats.

The volunteers enter the Hosey Common cave system through a secure entrance.

Clare joined a willing and keen group of dedicated Kent Bat Group volunteers, who were ready to spend the day underground looking for some hibernating furry friends. The group started by entering into the incredible world of the disused mines and caves on Hosey Common which all are locked and protected for the bats and to keep people safe.

After crawling around in the dark, often sliding on bottoms and crawling like commandos, the volunteers found 64 bats in total. The range of species included Daubenton’s, Natterer’s and Whiskered/ Brandt’s/ Alcathoe. These three are grouped together as the smaller Myotis bats as they are harder to determine what species by observation alone.

After emerging hours later Clare described the day as one of her top five wildlife survey experiences and she is already looking forward to doing it all again next year.

A Natterer’s Bat at Hosey Common. PHOTO: Paul Glandfield

If you would like to support the great work the Kent Bat Group do to help protect bats in Kent, please go to their website: www.kentbatgroup.org.uk  and let them know you heard about them through the Sevenoaks Greensand Commons Project.

If you are keen to volunteer to help improve and maintain bat foraging habitat at sites such as Hosey Common please contact Clare Russell by email at: clare.russell@kentwildlife.org.uk.

The Hosey Common caves were originally old stone quarries. For more information on the history CLICK HERE

A view within the tunnel. Behind Paul Glandfield are six other volunteers who are hidden in the dark.

Once inside the gated area the caves get small and dark quite quickly!

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