ORWELL PARK COUNTRY RANGER
NOTE FROM PSG WEBSITE CURATOR
Matt Berry has just completed the conversion of a WWII Pillbox into a `habitat` for BATS. This is a fantastic idea and one way of ensuring both the survival of the `little furry things` and pillboxes. Matt has kindly agreed to provide the PSG website with information about the conversion and in the near future, links to bat sites, material suppliers etc, so that you can take up the challenge in your local area to convert some more!
CONVERTING A PILLBOX INTO A BAT HABITAT
The general aim of the design was
to stabilise air temperature and moisture
content, making the pillbox cool and damp, ideal conditions for bats.
The basic details of how we modified the pillbox are:
Windows (loopholes) bricked up and
rendered leaving opening big enough for
the bats but not for rubbish to be thrown through.
A metal lockable door fitted to secure the pillbox from disturbance.
Landscaping using wildflower mix
to attract insects, also insect favoured trees such as Silver Birch.
A pond was due to be built too, this would be very beneficial to attracting bats to feed there and use the pillbox.It was also designed to flood slightly into the pillbox, hence helping to keep the air damp.
Ivy has been planted around the pillbox to cover it in time and provide more insects and cover, and to act as insulation to prevent rapid warming of the pillbox by the sun in summer.
Also soil was mounded around the outside of the pillbox on most of its sides again for insulation as bats dislike draughts as well as erratic temperature changes.
We built a honey comb brick wall
across one end and backfilled with loose
brick rubble, this provides lots of accessible nooks and crannies for the bats to roost.
There are also roofing tiles attached around all of the walls, nailed onto roofing batons, again this if for roosting purposes.
Also we have installed a number of
specially designed "bat bricks". These
are same size as a standard house brick but have a number of small slots
through their structure so that the bats can roost inside them.
I think its a great way to maintain
pillboxes for the future, benefiting wildlife and highlighting their
Orwell Country Park Ranger
Copyright Graham G Matthews@PSG2002-2013