Douneside House Renovations

Client: MacRobert Trust

The hotel and leisure centre at Douneside House, Tarland, were extensively renovated between 2015 and 2016. Comprising an old house, several ancillary houses and numerous outbuildings, the complex had large potential for bat roost habitat and we were therefore commissioned to undertake a bat roost survey.

A roost was found in the boiler house of the Casa Memoria building, one of four roosts located during the works. This was subject to a dusk survey, using a remotely placed AnaBat Express bat detector set up to record any calls broadcast by emerging bats and, also, temperature throughout the recording session. Visual counts of emerging bats were also undertaken. A large number of soprano pipistrelles (Pipistrellus pygmaeus) were found to be using the roost, and it was thought that the constant temperature inside the boiler room allowed the bats to give birth earlier and promoted early maturation of the colony.

As the boiler room was to be extensively renovated, it was necessary under legislative requirements to provide an alternative maternity roost of equal or better quality so that at least the same number of bats can continue to breed successfully. A European Protected Species licence was obtained to undertake works in the building and two heated bat boxes were placed on the outside of the building whilst works were underway. Once works were finished, a false ceiling was erected in the boiler room to restore conditions similar to those of the pre-refurbishment environment.