'They are amazing' - Thousands of endangered bats put on spectacular night show in South Devon town

  • Watch: The Devon town home to the largest number of horseshoe bats in the country

They might be seen by some as mysterious, unclean or even scary - but a group of wildlife lovers in South Devon say it's time to give bats another chance.

The town of Buckfastleigh, on the edge of Dartmoor, is home to the largest collection of greater horseshoe bats in the country.

At this time of year they can be seen and heard, at the same time every night, flying through the trees in a spectacular and well-rehearsed routine.

Resident Pam Barrett and her friends have been charting the progress of the bats for some time, counting them and mapping their route at least twice a week.

Pam, Emma and Jenny preparing for an evening of bat watching. Credit: ITV News

"There are several thousand bats here," Pam told ITV News West Country.

"They are very predictable, they come out just after dusk and move through the darkest parts of the landscape, the hedges and the river channels, and go off to forage.

"The greater horseshoes here are very special and actually under a fair bit of risk. So we're trying to co-ordinate the organisations that are responsible for them to make sure decisions are made in the interests of protecting them."

The friends say bats are endangered and must be protected. Credit: ITV News

Fellow bat enthusiast Jenny Murphy said: "Bats echolocate to find their way through the landscape, so they are bouncing sound off their horseshoe-shaped nose and off objects in the landscape.

"They are emitting a noise, but it's a noise we can't hear because it's too high for us.

"When you hear them through the detector, you hear something you don't hear any other way."