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Wildlife

In addition to the beautiful landscape and varied plant life, Hestercombe is also a little patch of paradise for native wildlife. Exploring the gardens it’s not unusual to catch a glimpse of a flicking white tail as roe deer bound away at your approach. You may also hear the rustle of leaves as common lizards busily go about their daily business of bug hunting.

Hestercombe provides a fantastic place to live for a wide and varied assortment of our native animals. We are also famed for our bats, of which we have many species. Our lesser horseshoe bats visit Hestercombe every summer as their maternity roost, in order to have their young. The roosts here are so important that they have European protected status, and Hestercombe is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSI) and a Special Area for Conservation (SAC).

We encourage the bats by planting a mixture of native shrubs and broadleaf tree species to create a shrub layer below the tree canopy that increases the amount of cover available to the bats. By leaving deadwood on the ground we provide a habitat that will also support a high diversity of woodland insects and increase foraging opportunities.

A new roost has been created to provide further nesting space for our resident lesser horseshoe, pipistrelle and brown long- eared bats. Be sure to come and see our lesser horseshoe bats in their maternity roost during the summer on our bat camera and watch the young bats take their first flight! Along with our bats many species have been recorded on site and we have listed just a few – so look out for these.

Mammals

Roe deer – Capreolus capreolus
Fox  – Vulpes vulpes
Badger – Meles meles
Rabbit – Oryctolagus cuniculus
Lesser horseshoe bats – Rhinolophus hipposideros
Pipistrelle bats – Pipistrellus pipistrellus
Brown long-eared bats – Plecotus auritus

Birds

Buzzards (nesting) – Buteo buteo
Sparrowhawk – Accipiter nisus
Nuthatch – Sittidae

Reptiles/Amphibians/Fish

Common lizard – Lacerta vivipara
Grass snake – Natrix natrix
Common frog – Rana temporaria
Common toad – Bufo bufo
Rudd (Box pond) – Scardinius erythrophthalmus
3 spined stickleback (Formal Garden) – Gasterosteus aculeatus

Invertebrates

There are literally thousands of species of invertebrates living in the gardens. In a moth survey carried out by the British Butterfly Conservation Society 84 different species of moth were recorded in just three nights, including the Scarlet Tiger Moth which is typically found near comfrey or nettles in south and west England and Wales.

If when you visit, you spot something interesting then please let us know by contacting Oliver White on 01823 413923 or email oliverwhite@hestercombe.com and send in your photos.

Watch the video to learn more about the bats at Hestercombe…