DBG: Events


DBG members - dont miss surveys in June, especially our annual Middleton FSC survey, and our regular check of the bat boxes in Hamsterley Forest.


Members only and Public Events and Bat Walks during Summer

Dates for surveys public bat walks etc at Gibside

Winter meeting schedule

Derwent Bat Emergence Survey Photo Gallery

Hamsterley Forest Batbox check

Working closely with the Forestry Commission, bat boxes were first placed in Hamsterley Forest in 2000 to provide bats with some roost potential in an area that provides excellent foraging habitat but limited roost potential. Durham Bat Group has over 200 boxes placed in 6 groups mainly along rides in the eastern portion of the forest. These have been checked on an annual basis. At present these boxes are being refurbished and repositioned.

Any boxes that had no evidence of use during 2014 were taken down and repositioned during 2015 using our new hanging system. This is all done with the co-operation of the Forestry Commission who need to know our planned activities.

Update on Hamsterley bat boxes

DBG has a long established bat box scheme within Hamsterley Forest. Until this year these boxes were nailed to the trees and checking them involved the use of ladders harnesses and ropes. Carrying these around the forest was very inconvenient, so we decided to rehang the boxes using a new hanging system. In October 2014 all bat boxes that had never been used by bats were removed from the trees; these boxes have now had wires attached and will be reused. We have planned to have five series of twenty boxes placed within the Forest. We hope to check these on a regular basis and be able to use them for bat ID training and handling as well as being able to make some comparisons. On Sunday a group from DBG started rehanging the bat boxes. We now have one series in place with the backbone of two more series completed. We have records of 237 boxes within the forest. Of these 105 boxes are redundant – {B series 24, C series 21 and D(1-12) series 1 and E series(24), including the 35 boxes within G&H series}, leaving 133 boxes within A series(36), F series(18), J series(32) and M series(46). Of these 8 are missing, 45 have been taken down to be rehung, and the remaining 81 are still on trees. We plan to rehang all the boxes to create 20 boxes per series. Minimum of 6 series needed. Tricia

NOTE - bat boxes are roosts for bat and as such are protected by law. Only NE licensed persons can check bat boxes; also those boxes still attached by the old system can only be checked by persons holding a working at height qualification using ladders and a harness.


checking a bat box


no bats in this box


can you identify this bat?


or this one?

River Derwent Emergence Survey 2008 and Noctule Survey 2009

Many thanks to everyone who was involved with our major collaborative survey of bats on the River Derwent in 2008, and the Middleton and Noctule Surveys in 2009.  Now you can see the results by clicking on the links above. 

Thanks also to Geoff Brown of Winlaton camera club for his photo of the Butterfly bridge before it was destroyed by floods on 6 Sept 2008, and to Michael at bridges on the tyne - a great site with loads of information (past and present) about many of our local rivers.

And finally Ordnance Survey for OS OpenSpace which enabled me for the first time to use maps without having copyright problems.

Directions for meetings and locations:

Thornley Woodland Centre is between Winlaton Mill and Rowlands Gill, on the A694 Chopwell wood: meet at the Lintzford car park on the A694

Rainton Meadows wildlife centre is near Houghton-le-Spring. From the A690 turn off for FenceHouses on the B1284. Left at the next roundabout, and the wildlife centre is about 1/4 mile further on. The nature reserve is marked on the 1" OS Map.

Gibside NT is on the road between Rowlands Gill and Burnopfield.

Low Barnes is the Durham Wildlife Trust reserve just to the East of Witton-le-Wear. Witton-le-Wear village is just off the A68 to the North-west of Bishop Auckland.

Middleton Field Study Centre is the old Middleton-in-Teesdale village school, just on the Durham side of the Tees on the road towards Mickleton.

Hamsterley Forest lies to the west of Bishop Auckland and can be accessed from the A68 near Witton-le-Wear. Bat Box Check: Meet at the site of the petrol pumps to the west of the forestry offices