Batman to visit Bishop’s Palace

Friday 23 August 2013

Pembrokeshire is home to more bats than anywhere else in Wales. And this August, visitors to St Davids Bishop’s Palace can explore the area’s nocturnal wildlife as well as its history, through a unique partnership between Pembrokeshire National Park and Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

Batman to visit Bishop’s Palace

Batman to visit Bishop’s Palace

Visitors to the Palace will be given an exciting opportunity to learn about bats, starting with a talk from Craig Stringer, a Pembrokeshire National Park Discovery Ranger for ten years. Craig will share his knowledge about the flying mammals, before embarking on a 90 minute walk in search of the fascinating creatures.

Currently 18 species of bat have been recorded in the UK, of which 15 have been recorded in the National Park with 12 of the species also breeding there. But being nocturnal creatures and with the largest species being the size of a small pear, bats are often difficult creatures to explore.

St Davids Bishop Palace, which is cared for by Cadw, is home to several species, including Common and Soprano Pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bat, the latter a species that hunts for insects along the River Alun. The Palace and its adjacent Cathedral also forms a ‘des res’ for bats, and at least eight species have been found there, including the rare Greater Horseshoe bat, which uses the Bishop’s Palace as a winter roost.

A night-time walk around the historic building and its grounds lead by Craig Stringer will let wildlife enthusiasts search for bats through identifying clues and using bat detectors to locate the creatures through the sounds they make.

Craig Stringer, Discovery Ranger and bat expert, said: 'The Palace is an excellent site for bats, offering places for the creatures to breed, roost and feed, and there are several species to be found there.  

'Bats make different noises depending on their species, for example the Horseshoe bat warbles and whistles! So it’s great fun for visitors to use the information that they’ve learned during the talk to identify the bat species. It’s quite a spooky experience which adds to the appeal, especially for children.'

John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sport, said: 'The Brilliant Bats events appeal to families and wildlife enthusiasts alike, and these types of events are a fantastic way to attract new audiences to explore Cadw sites and learn about their local heritage.'

Amanda Canby-Lewis, Head Custodian, St Davids Bishop’s Palace, added: 'The Palace may no longer be home to people but it is still very much lived in and there’s something magical about seeing its resident creatures of the night against such a dramatic backdrop.'

Click here for further information about the event.

Fun facts about bats
• Bats are the only mammals that can fly
• Bats are not blind! They have good eyesight, but even better hearing
• Bats find their way and find food by making high pitched squeaks. This is called echolocation. You can listen to these noises on special bat detectors.
• Pipistrelles are the smallest bat in Pembrokeshire.  They are only 4cm long.
• Pipistrelles can eat up to 3000 midges in one night!