Devon Bat Survey


Would you like to know what bats are on your favourite walk, or in your local area?  Borrow a bat detector to find out!

If you have already booked, here’s a reminder of the  Monitoring Centre details

If the recording sheets in the equipment box have run out you can download one here. Full instructions for borrowers are found here. Check our FAQs for commonly asked questions.


All bats have a slightly different sound used for echolocation and we use bat detectors to listen to the bats’ calls to distinguish between species.

During the summer months you can borrow an SM4 bat detector for 4 days from 20 locations across Devon through our online booking service. We ask that you only make one booking to allow as many people as possible to take part in the survey.

You put the detector out for 3 nights in your chosen grid square before returning it on the fourth day. Firstly you will need to select a 1km grid square from the map to place your detector in. This could be in your garden, or somewhere in the countryside. If you plan on putting it somewhere other than your own land, then you must have the permission of the landowner. You should speak to the landowner prior to choosing a square to gain permission. Click here to download a letter to give to the landowner explaining about the survey. We will also need a signed form (click here to download the form) returned with the memory card. The form also gives you information on how to find out who owns the land. If you choose a square and are then unable to gain permission, please contact the project team who can help you choose another square.

If you are placing the detector on someone else’s land, then you should take someone else with you whilst you do so. A risk assessment has been prepared which all borrowers must read and action – read the Risk Assessment here.

Once the data has been analysed, a report will be sent to you, showing you all the bats that passed by.

As more people use the detectors, this information will give the project a more detailed understanding of where greater horseshoe bats live across Devon, helping us to find new roosts and ensure that our work is focused in the right areas. Data on all bat species will be passed on to the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre and feed into the National Bat Monitoring Programme.

Important – when booking out one of our bat detectors……

………please only select one time slot, to ensure that as many different people as possible are able to book a detector and take part in the Devon Bat Survey.

Choose a grid square by clicking on the link below. This will take you to our booking site hosted by the British Trust for Ornithology. Once you have chosen a square,  the team will need to approve it. You will then receive an email inviting you to book your detector slot. Once you’ve booked please note down any specific details for your chosen centre, such as dates, any request to email/phone in advance, or opening hours. Two days before your booking you will receive a reminder with general (but not specific) details.

Here’s a reminder of the  Monitoring Centre details     

Book a bat detector button in red with white text

The map below shows the 20 Monitoring Centres across Devon.


DBS centres location map

Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project