Our Beacon for Bats Project (OB4B) is a three-year project now in its final year (led by The Vincent Wildlife Trust and funded by the Brecon Beacons Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Environment Agency Wales). The project area, the upper Usk Valley has one of the most significant populations of lesser horseshoe bats in Europe (estimated at 5,000 bats) and contains a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and component Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) for the species. Key aims of the project are to provide opportunities for local people to learn about the ecology and environmental needs of lesser horseshoe bats and to work with landowners and farmers to enhance the landscape for lesser horseshoe bats.
Mr. John Thomas, Mrs. Irene Preece and Mr. Colin Preece of Pen-Y-Bryn Farms participated in OB4B in 2012/2013. With part-funding from the OB4B project they planted 1000 trees at Eligro Farm creating 0.9 ha of new woodland to improve foraging opportunities for bats, provided a venue for training volunteer bat surveyors at the Llangorse Multi Activity Centre and gave permission for volunteers to carry out bat detector surveys along hedgerows throughout Eligro Farm. The objectives of the bat surveys were two-fold: (1) Mr John Thomas was particularly keen to find out which bat species are present on the farm and to see how they are using hedgerows planted some years ago as part of the Tir Gofal Agri-Environment Scheme and (2) As part of the OB4B project we wished to determine if any of the hedgerows on the farm are important for foraging and commuting lesser horseshoe bats. This report summarises our survey findings.