This introductory bat course will explore and practice the methods used to investigate these elusive animals at woodland sites.

Woodlands are the most important habitats for bat conservation, but they are also greatly diminished and under continuing pressure from development.

In this course, we will look at a range of standard and advanced techniques that are used for surveying and studying bats and consider their relative effectiveness in woodland habitats. There will be nocturnal fieldwork with demonstrations of capture techniques, acoustic lures, and the identification of bats in the hand. There will also be a range of classroom demonstrations of equipment for radio-tracking and acoustic monitoring and practical exercises in the identification of bats from sonograms of their echolocation calls. The application of each technique will be illustrated with specific examples from the tutor’s own experience of research and survey work on bats in the UK and overseas.

If you are interested in learning more about surveying bats, then this is the course for you!

* This course provides an introduction to the capture and handling of bats and the use of acoustic lures. Long-term training is required before it is possible to obtain a licence to use these methods. Field demonstrations will be dependent on the weather.

Your course will take place within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty close to field sites in Dartmoor National Park and urban centres in Plymouth and Torbay.

Please Note: There is no accommodation provided with this course. If you would like to book accommodation, lunch and an evening meal at Slapton Ley, please email [email protected]

Bookings will close if course capacity is reached

Who Should Attend?

Nature enthusiasts, Students, Rangers, Early career consultants and ecologists.

Knowledge Level


Prior Knowledge

No existing knowledge or experience is needed for this course. Just a willingness to explore and learn.

This course will include:

    • Introduction and practical demonstration of survey techniques for bats
    • A review of the status of British bats
    • The importance of woodland habitats for bat conservation
    • How to set surveys and collect data
    • Field demonstrations

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

    • Explain the importance of woodland habitats
    • Identify the methods for identifying bats in the hand
    • Record bat species, sex, age-class and release calls
    • Discussion of the advantages and limitations of different techniques
    • Share this knowledge with friends, family, and fellow volunteers

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our fantastic tutor will combine the use of classroom-led learning and outside learning opportunities to give individuals the skills and confidence to progress their learning.

  • See the ‘Example Timetable’ and ‘What’s Included’ sections below for more information about this course.
  • Upon booking, you will need to provide individual details of all attendees
  • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses.

    • Discounted rates
    • Privately run courses for your group
    • Bespoke courses developed specifically for your needs

Find out more here

If we are unable reach viable numbers for this course, we will inform you of the course cancellation 14 days prior to the course run. We would recommend when purchasing accommodation and/or travel you should take out your own insurance.

Tutor: David Hill

David Hill taught ecology and conservation at the University of Sussex for 15 years before becoming a professor at the Wildlife Research Center of Kyoto University in Japan. He has been studying and surveying bats for almost 20 years and has extensive experience with a range of advanced techniques, including acoustic monitoring, capture and radio-tracking. Much of his research has involved the development and applications of the Autobat, an acoustic lure that greatly enhances bat capture. This device has enabled him to do research on the population dynamics, vocal communication and diet of elusive bat species in England and Japan that would not otherwise have been feasible. He has also tested the Autobat in many other countries, including Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and Taiwan.

Book with Confidence

We understand the difficulties of making plans in the current situation when guidelines continue to change, and insurance conditions are being tightened. In response, we will continue to offer additional flexibility. Find out more here

Example Timetable

This timetable is subject to change but should give a clear outline of what to expect

    • Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly at 7:00pm on the Friday evening
    • The course will end at 4:00pm

Each night we will walk from the Field Centre to the sites, spend about three hours there and then walk back. This will involve a few kilometres of walking, some of it on rough terrain inside woodland, so moderate levels of fitness and mobility are required.

Day 1

7:00pmIntroductions and classroom session covering:

  • Methods for identifying bats in the hand
8:00pmField demonstration – Setting harp traps and manually recording bat activity

Please note accommodation and an evening meal is not included

Day 2

11:00amClassroom session covering:

  • Bat conservation in the UK and beyond: the need for advanced techniques.
  • Introduction to acoustic monitoring and species identification: potential and limitations.
12:00pmLunch – not provided
1:00pmClassroom session covering:

  • Acoustic lures: development and applications.
2:00pmRest period (in preparation for night work) – refreshments and evening meal not provided
7:00pmField demonstration:

  • Setting harp traps and manually recording bat activity.
  • Getting data from bats in the hand: Recording species, sex, age-class and release calls.

Please note accommodation and an evening meal is not included

Day 3

11:00amClassroom session covering:

  • Applications of radio-tracking for studying and surveying bats.
  • Acoustic analysis of full-spectrum recordings of bat calls
12:00pmLunch – not provided
1:00pmGroup discussion - advantages and limitations of acoustic analysis vs capture
3:00pmRecap and final questions
4:00pmEnd of course

Please note accommodation and an evening meal is not included

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

What’s included?

The course has been carefully created by expert tutors and educators to help you build your knowledge and apply it within the field surrounded by like-minded individuals.

The course includes:

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the species
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the FSC is renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be provided. In choosing an FSC course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.

Before You Attend

What to bring:

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors
  •  Small bag to carry personal items

If you have them:

  • Headtorch (preferably one with a red light setting)
  • Bat detector

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical or access requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.