Lottery Cows Capture Supporting Heritage and Wildlife Through the National Lottery’s All Creatures Great and Small Project

At, we are proud to support the National Lottery’s commitment to preserving the UK’s rich heritage and wildlife. One of the remarkable initiatives funded by the National Lottery is the “All Creatures Great and Small” project, which includes efforts to protect Britain’s bat populations and their habitats.

The Bats in Churches Project

Bats have found a sanctuary in many of England’s ancient churches, providing a vital roosting habitat as their natural environments diminish. However, the coexistence of bats and congregations can present unique challenges, especially with droppings and urine from larger colonies affecting the historic items within these sacred buildings. The Bats in Churches project, funded by the National Lottery, has been instrumental in addressing these issues while fostering a deeper appreciation for these nocturnal creatures.

Over the past five years, the project has supported more than 100 churches, including St Nicholas Church in Arundel. Nestled among trees and a serene churchyard, St Nicholas is home to several bat species. The community has embraced these bats, which can be seen emerging at dusk during summer, silhouetted against the skyline as they forage for insects.

Protecting Heritage and Wildlife

Bats and churches have a long-standing association. As bats seek refuge in these ancient structures, the Bats in Churches project has provided essential support to help them thrive while minimizing their impact on human activities within the church. This initiative has brought together architects, ecologists, and volunteers to create innovative solutions, such as installing false ceilings to separate bat roosting areas from congregational spaces.

One notable success story is the medieval church of St Lawrence in Radstone, Northamptonshire. Home to a maternity colony of 200 Natterer’s bats, the church faced significant challenges from bat mess and disturbance. With the support of the Bats in Churches project, a false ceiling was installed, allowing the bats to roost undisturbed above the congregation. Today, St Lawrence is open for worship once more, actively embracing its bats with events like bat walks and featuring on BBC’s Songs of Praise.

Bringing Communities Together

The presence of bats has also revitalized communities. St Peter’s Church in Wintringham, North Yorkshire, had only two volunteers until a series of bat surveys in 2022 sparked local interest. The church now boasts over 30 active volunteers and hosted a well-attended Christmas service. An art installation celebrating the community’s connection to bats, created by artist Ilene Sterns, permanently resides in the church, symbolizing the unity brought by these remarkable creatures.

A Lasting Legacy

As the Bats in Churches project draws to a close, it leaves behind a wealth of resources to support church communities with resident bats. From information and case studies to online training and activities, the project’s legacy ensures that the knowledge and support continue to benefit churches across England.

At, we encourage everyone to get involved. Whether through the National Bat Helpline, joining a local bat group, or participating in the National Bat Monitoring Programme, there are numerous ways to support these incredible efforts.

By playing the National Lottery through, you directly contribute to projects like All Creatures Great and Small, protecting Britain’s bat wildlife and preserving our shared heritage. Together, we can make a difference, one lottery ticket at a time. Thank you for your support and for helping to safeguard the UK’s natural and historical treasures.

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