Designation as a Jubilee Wildlife Space

Unveiling the Plaque

It was on 25 April 2003 that a ceremony took place to designate the Horspath Wildlife Conservation Area as one of Oxfordshire's Jubilee Wildlife Spaces.

Despite being a grey and drizzly Friday afternoon, the ceremony still attracted about a hundred people to an enjoyable community event, and good TV and Press coverage was achieved.

Unveiling the Plaque. Forty-seven people went into the bat tunnel, while rather more visited the exhibition of photos of the project and enjoyed the splendid Jubilee Cake and other refreshments provided by Oxfordshire Nature Conservation Forum in Horspath Village Hall.

Here, Hugo Brunner, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire is seen about to remove the Union Jack from the Jubilee Wildlife Space plaque set up by ONCF beside the entrance near the Butts Road bridge.

Getting an Idea of the Scale of the Project

The Digger. This view of the Mini Digger, on the new gravel path, gives some idea of the scale of the project.

Oxfordshire Nature Conservation Forum donated £750 towards the cost of the duck boarding for the tunnel and the 30 tonnes of gravel for the paths.

Morganís Mini Diggers sponsored the provision of the 3 tonne excavator shown here, which was used to lay the path, and a 1.2 tonne dumper truck used by volunteers to move the gravel down from the road 400 metres away.

Visiting the Bat Hibernaculum

Adjusting their Hats. Hugo Brunner and other visitors are here seen adjusting their hard hats while waiting beside the wetlands before entering the bat hibernaculum in the tunnel.


In the Tunnel.


Reflections from the water give a surrealist look to visitors entering the floodlit tunnel.

The duck boards to the right, provide a dry walkway beside the water which is retained at the Horspath end in order to increase the humidity. The improves the survival prospects for the hibernating bats.

Sponsor a Bat Brick

A Bat Brick. In the tunnel, visitors were able to see the bat bricks, specially made by the Norfolk Bat Group. These provide suitable accommodation during winter hibernation for at least 12 bats in each brick. The bricks will be installed at intervals in place of original bricks removed from the tunnel walls. They will stay at around 7 degrees Celsius, which is ideal to keep the bats alive while hibernating.

It is possible to sponsor the installation of these bat bricks through donations of £9.50 per brick. Anyone wishing to support this project with sponsorship, should in the first instance contact Cynth Napper, the Oxfordshire Jubilee Wildlife Spaces Co-ordinator, at the Oxfordshire Nature Conservation Forum, by e-mail to or by telephone on (01865) 407034. ONCF is currently working with the volunteers in Horspath to ensure that the first batch of sponsored bricks are installed this summer, so that when the bats return to to the tunnel in the autumn, they will find some of their new homes ready for them.

Refreshments in the Village Hall

The Jubilee Cake. The event concluded with refreshments provided by Oxfordshire Nature Conservation Forum in the Horspath Village Hall, where there was also an exhibition of photographs showing the various stages of the project.

Here Cynth Napper, co-ordinator of the Jubilee Wildlife Spaces Scheme for ONCF, is about to cut up the Jubilee Cake for the volunteers and visitors to the Village Hall.

Copyright © Martin Harris & Alan Simpson 2003 Back to the Index Last Updated 2003-08-24