The UK is home to 18 different species of bat, several of which live within the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park. One of the UK’s largest populations of the rare, lesser horseshoe bat is found in the Usk Valley.

Both bats and their roosts are legally protected, so care must be taken to determine whether they are present when planning development work in rural areas. They often live in houses entirely unnoticed, as they are generally very clean animals which don’t cause damage by nibbling through wires or dropping food or nesting material.

For information regarding bats and planning applications within the National Park, please click here.


There are 3 species of Pipistrelle bats in the UK; they are the bats most likely to be seen in urban areas, gardens and parks as well as in woodlands and hedges in the open countryside. Summer roosts and winter hibernation sites are almost always within buildings. Any buildings can be used including modern houses where these small bats will find roost spaces behind soffit boards, beneath tiles or indeed any other suitable space that is warm and dry.

Greater horseshoe bats

The greater horseshoe bat is one of the largest bats in the UK. During the summer they form maternity colonies which generally roost in large old buildings and forage in pasture, hedgerows and the fringes of mixed deciduous woodland. In winter, they depend on caves, abandoned mines and other underground sites such as cellars.

Lesser horseshoe bats

The lesser horseshoe bat is one of the smallest bats in the UK. They prefer sheltered valleys with extensive deciduous woods or dense scrub close to roost sites. Where habitat is fragmented, linear features such as hedgerows and rivers are important corridors between roosts and foraging areas. In winter they hibernate in caves, mines and other cave-like places.


One of the largest British bats, the noctule is a fast and powerful flier, often seen out in the open and before sunset on summer evenings. Noctules are rarely found in buildings, preferring to roost in trees. They have declined across Britain, probably due to the loss of large trees and hedgerows in which to roost and feed.

For more information on bats see the following webpages hosted by the Bat Conservation Trust:

UK bat species.

Living with bats.

Use the navigation bar on the left to explore more species in the National Park.