Chillington Hall

15 Mar 2021

Chillington Hall – Farm Building Courtyard Restoration – Bat Licensing – Roost Compensation and Mitigation Design

We have had the pleasure over the years of working on a number of projects at Chillington Hall in Staffordshire, including, between 2008 and 2011, the restoration of a planned courtyard of Grade 2* listed farm buildings located to the northwest of the hall. 

Laid out from the 1720s and rebuilt during the18th and 19th centuries, the farm buildings incorporate stables, barns, smithy, malt house, granary and carriage stores and once formed an integral part of the life of Chillington Hall. The centrepiece is a dovecote that housed over 1000 doves and provided meat, eggs, feathers and dung for fertiliser and possibly gunpowder. 

Deterioration of the buildings over the years led to them being placed on English Heritage’s Register of Buildings at Risk. Due to the commitment of the owners coupled with assistance by Natural England under their Agri-Environment schemes (initially the Countryside Stewardship Scheme) works took place to conserve and restore the buildings.

We undertook extensive survey of the buildings for bats in advance of works taking place, locating the presence of maternity roosts of both  brown long-eared and Natterer’s and smaller roosts of common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle and whiskered bats. Throughout the project we worked closely with the project architects and specialist craftspeople to ensure restoration work took place in a way that conserved the bat roosts. A European Protected Species licence was obtained to enable works to the West Range to take place, which involved extensive repair work including roof and timber beam replacement and wall reconstruction.  An education room was installed on the first floor in a former hayloft. Bat access points were created below tiles and in the glazed, metal-framed windows in the form of ‘hoppers’ cleverly designed by the project architect and successfully adopted by bats for flight access. The survey and monitoring work we subsequently undertook showed reuse of the buildings by bats almost immediately.