A sheltered corner of EWOS was identified as a possible roosting place for bats. Six bat boxes were made by the volunteers in 1999 and erected on two of the tallest trees at a height of around 40ft.
The planting of a large number of native night-scented perennials and wild flower seeds in the triangular area in front of the cemetery wall took place in September 2000. A wide range of wild flowers chosen by the volunteers’ plant expert, Mark Wickens, were ordered for this project. They included agrimony, garlic, kidney vetch, lords and ladies, wild basil, teasel, dropwort, ladies bedstraw, field scabious, sorrel, night flowering catchfly, betony, tufted vetch, sweet and dog violet.
The area has subsequently been mown as part of the regime agreed with the Bexley Council’s Works & Contracts Department. Regular inspection has confirmed that the flowers have become well established.
Our photos above show the original bat boxes that were installed and these have now been replaced by ones of a different design. These newer boxes have been placed not only in the designated bat area which has been carefully nurtured by the volunteers and Bexley Council, but also in the Woodland Walk (Boardwalk) which we know is also an important habitat for Noctules and Pipistrelles as we have seen them flying there during our organised bat walks.
The new boxes can be seen more clearly in winter when the trees are bare.
The existing bat boxes had not been inspected since they were placed in the bat area and the boardwalk. Because bats are a protected species, arrangements must be made to have this work carried out by licensed bat handlers. On 15 October 2012, the licensed handlers came to inspect them and carried out some additional work for us.
As yet there is no evidence of use by bats, but the boxes have been used by both blue tits and long tailed tits for nesting purposes.
The Volunteers were given considerable feedback about the site and condition of the bat boxes and it was confirmed that they were correctly positioned and secured.