Area: 0.72 hectares.
This is a new site for greater horseshoe bats.
The site is partly within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Greater horseshoe bats are protected under the following legislation: Annex II of the EC Habitats & Species Directive (92/43/EEC), Appendix II of the Bonn Convention (and is included in the Convention’s Agreement on the Conservation of Bats in Europe), Appendix II of the Berne Convention, Schedule 2 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations, 1994 (Regulation 38) and Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
Description and Reasons for Notification:
Minister Church is situated in a secluded, wooded valley near Boscastle in north Cornwall. Minster Church supports the largest known greater horseshoe bat maternity roost in Cornwall and one of the largest in the UK. The greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum is listed as a rare and threatened species in the European and British Red Data Books of rare and endangered animal species. The British population is estimated to have declined by 91% since 1900 and this formerly widespread species is now confined to south-west England. In recognition of its rarity and vulnerability the greater horseshoe bat is protected by a range of UK and European Union legislation, including Annex II of the European Community Habitats & Species Directive.
Greater horseshoe bats are one of the largest British bats with a wingspan of between 14" and 16". They require roosting and breeding sites with large entrance holes and access to open roof voids warmed by the sun. At Minster Church the bats utilise the middle and upper sections of the church tower for roosting. Bats also require feeding grounds that supply a rich source of invertebrates. The trees, shrubs and undergrowth of the church grounds and the surrounding hedges provide the bats with safe, darkened flight paths from their roost in Minster Church to the adjacent foraging grounds.
Regular counts of greater horseshoe bat at Minster Church over the past eight years have confirmed the site’s importance as a summer maternity roost.