Bats in Gloucestershire – Gloucestershire Bat Group

Bats in Gloucestershire

Distribution Maps for the Bats of Gloucestershire.

The following maps were produced for the Bat Group by Gloucestershire Centre for Environmental Records (GCER). They show records of roosts at 2km scale (to protect individual roost locations and the privacy of roost owners), using data submitted to GCER by the Bat Group, many of our members, other naturalists and ecological consultants.  Flight records and grounded bats etc. are not shown.  As with most biological data sets, the records held are likely to be biased towards locations where recorders live or have surveyed for bats: blank squares do not necessarily imply absence of bats from that area!

We would love to ‘fill in the gaps’ and update the status of bats in areas where they have not been recorded recently. If you have records of bats (roost records, flight records, grounded bats, old or new) that you would be willing to submit, please either contact GCER (details on their website: or follow the link from their website to the iRecord online recording facility.

Ecological consultants should note that referring to these maps is not an effective alternative to obtaining ‘desk study’ information as part of ecological appraisals to inform development proposals – this information can be obtained from GCER.


A rare species in Gloucestershire, as it is elsewhere in the UK, but recorded in scattered locations throughout the county. Barbastelles typically, but not always, roost in trees in mature woodland during the summer months, and in underground sites during the winter, so their distribution may be influenced by availability of these habitats in the county.




A rare species on the edge of its range in Gloucestershire. Bechstein’s bats roost in tree holes in mature woodland during the summer months, which possibly explains their presence in the Forest of Dean and along the Cotswold scarp, but not apparently elsewhere in the county.



Brandt’s, whiskered and the rare Alcathoe bat (which has not yet been recorded in Gloucestershire) can only reliably be distinguished by close examination or DNA testing, so both (or all three?) are likely to be under-recorded.  However, it does appear that Brandt’s bat is rarer and more restricted in its distribution than whiskered bat in Gloucestershire.


Brown long-eared

A widespread and relatively common species in Gloucestershire. Brown long-eared bats feed mainly in woodland bit often roost in buildings, so their roosts are more likely to be recorded than tree-roosting species.  Apparent clusters of roosts in the Forest of Dean, Stroud valleys and Cotswold Water Park may be partly due to greater survey effort in these areas compared to elsewhere in the county.

Common pipistrelle

The commonest and most widespread bat species in Britain, but apparently not the most widespread species in Gloucestershire, with relatively few records in the north and east of the county. However, old records of pipistrelle bats have been omitted, as this species and the soprano pipistrelle were only identified as separate species in the early 1990s.



As a species which rarely roosts in houses, Daubenton’s bat is hopefully under-recorded in Gloucestershire. As its flight behaviour is distinctive, flight records for this species may give a more accurate picture of its distribution in the county than the roost records shown.


Greater horseshoe

Gloucestershire has two maternity colonies of greater horseshoe bats, which are on the edge of their UK range in the county. One of these is the famous Woodchester Mansion colony which has been extensively studied by Dr Roger Ransome: the longest continuous study of any wild mammal population by a single person in the world. Their distribution in the county reflects the two areas surrounding the maternity roosts.



Mainly a tree roosting species, which can be difficult to distinguish reliably from noctule bats using echolocation calls alone, Leisler’s is likely to be under-recorded but, even so, is probably a rare species in the county.



Lesser horseshoe

As a woodland foraging species which roosts in buildings and underground sites, Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean District in particular are thought to be a stronghold for this species.  The distribution map suggests the Stroud Valleys are also important; this may be true but may also be influenced by greater survey effort in this area.



Nathusius’ pipistrelle

Nathusius’ pipistrelles are often associated with lakes or other large water bodies, so it is perhaps not surprising that what evidence we have of this species is associated with the Cotswold Water Park.  It is likely to be under-recorded, as flight records suggest a more widespread distribution in the county than this map would suggest.



Natterer’s bat is widespread in Gloucestershire (its range extends north to Scotland), but does not appear to be common anywhere in the county except possibly in the Cotswold Water Park, though this may be due to increased recording effort in this area.




Compared to some of our other species which tend not to roost in buildings or underground sites, noctule bats appear fairly widespread in the county. However flight records suggest that the species is present in the far south and north-east of the county, so it is very likely that roosts are under-recorded.



A species with an apparently scattered distribution in the county.  The distribution map suggests that the Stroud Valleys and Cotswold Water Park are both important areas for this species in Gloucestershire, but lack of records elsewhere may reflect additional recording effort in these two areas.



Soprano pipistrelle

A very common and widespread species, so it is surprising how few records there are, particularly in the far south and north-east of the county where there must surely be roosts.  As with common pipistrelle, old records have been omitted, as this species and the common pipistrelle were only identified as separate species in the early 1990s.


Whiskered, Brandt’s and the rare alcathoe bat (which has not yet been recorded in Gloucestershire) can only reliably be distinguished by close examination or DNA testing, so both (or all three?) are likely to be under-recorded.  However, it does appear that whiskered bat is commoner and more widespread than Brandt’s bat in Gloucestershire.