This Bat ID course covers the identification, ecology and surveying of British bat species, plus an understanding of the importance of these species for ecology, conservation and recording.

Bats make up almost a quarter of the world’s mammals, with over 1400 species, found on all continents, except Antarctica. In Britain we have 18 resident species, of which 17 are breeding here. All British bats are considered vulnerable or endangered and are protected by law. This weekend will shed some light on the activities of these fascinating flying creatures and how to identify them.

The course will begin on the Friday evening with a general introduction to bats, this will be followed by a bat walk around the study centre grounds. On Saturday there will be sessions on bats and the law, and an introduction to British bat species followed by an introduction to the National Bat Monitoring Programme and a bat detector workshop in the afternoon. After supper there will be a visit down to the river (conditions permitting) so that attendees have the opportunity to practice their new found detecting skills.

There will be a short dawn survey on Sunday morning. During the rest of the day there will be sessions on specimen identification and survey methods, including a practical visit to some buildings to look for potential roosting sites and to undertake a site assessment. A final morning session in the classroom on Monday will be on the analysis of recorded bat calls followed by a class test in the afternoon. Overall an interesting and entertaining introduction to the wonders of bats.

Your course takes place on a 12-hectare estate, surrounded by a rich range of habitats, including the River Severn and semi-ancient woodland, set in the heart of Shropshire with views disappearing into Wales.

There are three booking options which all include course tuition, meals and refreshments *please see the ‘whats included’ section below for further details:

  • Non-Resident
  • Resident (Shared Room)
  • Resident (Sole Occupancy)

For course bookings including accommodation please note bathroom facilities may be be shared

Who Should Attend? Natural history enthusiasts, students, rangers, ecologists, environmental professionals. This intermediate level course is open to anyone with some knowledge of the subject. This course is suitable for 18 years and over only.

Knowledge Level – Intermediate. Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

What will be covered during this course?

  • The course will be delivered through a combination of seminars, classroom identification sessions and practical field work.
  • The species of bats found in the UK, and their ecology, feeding preferences and roosting behaviours.
  • The key diagnostic features of different bat species, both visually and via acoustics surveying.
  • The features which make up a good site for bats, and what management or mitigation options are available to protect and promote these species.
  • Site survey methods, use of bat detectors, counts and roost surveys
  • Legislation covering bats in the UK and the licensing framework for surveys and other activities with bats

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

  • Identify British bats using relevant ID guides, with reference to the ecology of specific species and detail relevant legislation.
  • Critically evaluate survey techniques for bats, undertake a basic bat survey and write a site assessment for bat foraging and roosting potential.


This is one of a series of courses (Units) run jointly with Manchester Metropolitan University contributing to the MSc Biological Recording and Ecological Monitoring and the Postgraduate Certificate in Biological Recording. MMU students complete assessed work after the course. For further details about Manchester Metropolitan University degree programmes please contact:

Department of Natural Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, (Shrewsbury Office). Email:  [email protected]

  • 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.


For Manchester Metropolitan University students, the Unit will be assessed through, for example, identification tests, survey reports, field journals, production of keys, essays or other forms of assessment. In course tests are optional and less formal for participants who are not MMU students.

MMU students will be required to complete a portfolio comprising of two parts:

Part One: An identification test of UK bat species. You will be expected to justify all your answers with reference to species ecology (500 words)

Part Two: Design and carry out a site assessment for potential bats, with an annotated map to indicate the areas that you think are most important to bats. Evaluate how different bat species ecology and preferences would relate to features of the site. You must provide information on the relevant legislation to both the site survey and the species themselves. (1500 words)

Tutor: Lisa Worledge

Lisa is Head of Conservation Services at the Bat Conservation Trust. A licensed bat worker, she is a member of several bat groups and a Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor for Natural England. Lisa became addicted to these amazing animals after her first bat walk in 2008. Lisa has an MSc in Biological Recording. Helen has a Master’s degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation and studied the winter activity of the cape serotine bat in South Africa for her dissertation. A licensed bat worker with over 10 years’ experience in bat conservation, including as a Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor.

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

This timetable is subject to change but should give an outline of what to expect.

If numbers are sufficient a station pick up will be arranged at 5.30 pm from Shrewsbury Station.
The course ends at 4.00 pm on the final day.

Time will be made available for eating packed lunches during the day.

18:30 Dinner
19:30 Classroom: Introduction to course and attendees, followed by General Introduction to Bats
21:15 Field work: Emergence survey for bats at the Head Office building and a bat walk around the study centre grounds. (Subject to weather conditions)
08:00 Breakfast (residents only)
09:00 Classroom: Bats and the Law
10:45 Break
11:00 Classroom: Introduction to British Bats
12:45 Lunch
13:45 Classroom: Introduction to National Bat Monitoring Programme Surveys (NBMP)
15:15 Break
15:30 Classroom: Using Your Ears (Introduction to Bat Detectors & Bat Detecting)
18:00 Dinner
21:15 Field work: survey skills practice (subject to weather conditions. Sunset is 21:33)
03:30 Field work: Dawn survey of bats at the FSC Head Office building (subject to weather conditions). Back to bed afterwards!
08:00 Breakfast (residents only)
09:30 Classroom: In Hand Identification
11:00 Break 
11:15 Classroom: In Hand Identification continued
12:45 Lunch
13:45 Classroom: Spotlight on Bat Potential
15:15 Break
15:30 Classroom & Field work: Spotlight on Bat Potential continued
18:00 Dinner
19:30 Free time for reading, revision, and reflection
08:00 Breakfast (residents only)
09:00 Classroom: Introduction to Sound Analysis
10:30 Break
10:45 Classroom: Introduction to Sound Analysis continued
11:45 Classroom: Introduction to Assignment Part 2
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Classroom: Assignment Part 1 - Introduction to Bat Identification Class Test
14:00 Final round-up and Home Time!


Accrediting Agency

Manchester Metropolitan University

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Picnic Lunch

What’s included?

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the subject
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which we are renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression
  • All meals provided

For course bookings including full board accommodation, please note bathroom facilities maybe be shared.

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be provided.

Before You Attend

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 make any necessary adjustments.

What to Bring

    • Warm clothing
    • Waterproofs
    • Walking shoes / boots
    • Good torch / head torch
    • Bat detector (if you have one)
    • Headphones
    • Vacuum flask, lunchbox, etc.
    • Notepad and pen
    • Hand lens (if you have one)

Recommended Reading

  • Field Studies Council guide  Bats Guide
  • Bats – Waters, D & Warren, R – The Mammal Society
  • The Bat Detective. A Field guide for Bat Detection (with CD) – Briggs, B & King, D – Batbox Ltd.
  • A Guide to British Bats – Jones, K & Walsh, A – FSC (fold-out guide)
  • Bats. From Evolution to Conservation – Altringham, J.D – Oxford University Press
  • Bats of Britain and Europe – Dietz, C & Kiefer, A – Bloomsbury