BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 1 July, 2002, 21:21 GMT 22:21 UK
Historic home houses rare bats
Tyntesfield House
Tyntesfield is home to a colony of Horseshoe bats
The National Trust may be forced to amend its plans for a historic neo-Gothic mansion near Bristol, after it emerged the building was home to colony of rare bats.

Tyntesfield, a spectacular Victorian mansion at Wraxhall in North Somerset, is crammed full of relics from the British empire.

But trust officials have admitted it may also house an important colony of one of the rarest bat species in Britain.

Bat experts at the trust say the Victorian house provides a habitat for Greater Horseshoe bats.

Rare bats

Many of the buildings are known to be good roosts for the bats, according to Phil Richardson, the trust's bat conservation officer.

As the house and its many surrounding buildings are in an area known for Greater Horseshoe bats, he believed it could prove to be an important habitat.

However, as specially-licensed bat handlers will be unable to survey the estate until contracts are exchanged, the true extent of its importance as a colony for rare bats will not be known.

William Gibbs - a merchant who made part of his fortune by importing bat droppings from South America as fertiliser - built the house in 1875.

At that time, there were thought to be about 300,000 Greater Horseshoe bats in Britain.

Interior of Tyntesfield
The house retains many original features
But loss of the creature's natural habitat and increased use of insecticides have reduced their numbers to about 4,000.

Mr Richardson said: "Tyntesfield is slap bang in the middle of an area rich in Greater Horseshoe bats.

"Properties around have good numbers of this species and plenty of records of them foraging throughout the landscape.

"As well as this, the house is on a south-facing slope which is ideal for bat roosts as they are warmer and tend to attract plenty of insect food.

"And the fact it has not been altered over the years means any bats living there would not have been disturbed."

The National Trust, which takes over control of the house later this summer, was able to acquire Tyntesfield after being awarded a 17.4m grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

The grade one listed home is renowned for its sumptuous private chapel, an unrivalled collection of Victorian art and 500 acres of beautiful landscaped garden, park and farm land.

The estate and house came on to the open market with the death of Lord Wraxhall in 2001.


Click here to go to Bristol
See also:

31 May 02 | England
30 Apr 02 | England
19 Apr 02 | England
13 Mar 02 | England
23 Nov 01 | England
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes