National Trust – Bats In The Belfry

New roof tiles fitted to a Grade I listed 15th Century manor house have been adapted to stop bats slipping off.

Repair Project

The National Trust has faced an interesting challenge when replacing the roof of the Grade I listed 15th Century manor house Oxburgh Hall. The roof tiles needed replacing after being cracked and damaged through wear and tear. However, it was the need to accommodate bats that required an innovative approach.

The new roof tiles were proving too slippy for the resident bats. Conservationists selected tiles that looked the same as those used on the hall over two hundred years ago. However, they had to develop a new non-slip coating for the tiles that sat within proximity to 32 new bat openings in the roof. The tiles were coated with paint mixed with sand that enables the bats to grip with their claws.

Roosting Bats

The roof is used as both day and night roosts for brown long eared and common pipistrelle bats. The team involved in the renovation work created a new roost in the nearby Bell Tower, and installed bat boxes in trees within a short distance of the property so that the bats had alternative roosting places while the repair work took place.

Structural Issues

The repair work began when structural weakness was discovered in the roof of the hall back in 2016. One of the planning stipulations for the re-roofing work was that the National Trust protect the roosting bats.

While bats would not have come to harm from the slippery tiles, they would have been unable to use the safe roosting spaces in the roof.

The moated hall, in Oxborough near King’s Lynn, was built for Sir Edmund Bedingfeld in 1482 and has been owned by the National Trust since 1952.

If you are interested in supporting the National Trust’s conservation work then why not visit our National Trust page.