Posted 13 February 2015 by Andrew Gardner
Sussex bat hospital founder gets New Year gong! Bats often get such bad press but they're peaceful creatures that eat up midges and other insects, and if you're staying in one of our cosy country cottages (click here to view our selection) you might well be able to watch them swooping about the garden at twilight.
Forest Row resident Jenny Clark has been caring for rescued bats for over 30 years. When asked about her motivation a little while ago, she came up with a rather lovely, and certainly poignant, explanation. Bats are often regarded as sinister creatures of the night but Mrs Clark describes them as amazing, charming and gentle. 'I like to think I put a face to the shadow,' she said.
If you'd like to hear how bats communicate and navigate, I'd strongly recommend one of Sussex Wildlife Trust's bat walks - they'll take you out to a known bat habitat with sonar detectors that pick up every squeak and chirrup. We did this at Buchan Park near Crawley some time ago and were amazed at the repertoire of these tiny, hitherto apparently soundless creatures.
Anywhere that's good for insects can potentially be good bat habitat too, as there will be plenty of food for them. Cottage gardens, walls with lots of nooks and crannies, outbuildings, barns and stables all make ideal bat havens, so if you're staying in one of our Sussex holiday cottages you could be in for some wonderful bat-viewing. Several varieties can be easily seen in Sussex, such as pipistrelle (both common and soprano), Daubenton's and the brown long-eared variety. They flit about very fast but once your eyes are tuned in you'll spot them easily.
We have some lovely conversions on our books, from barns and smaller outbuildings to oast houses, a well house and a delightful shepherd's hut. Located in rural Sussex, they are wonderful holiday bases to explore the countryside and enjoy a sundowner as the bats flit busily above your head. I do hope you catch a sighting.