Weekend visitors urged to go bats for guided tour of abbey

Joanne Ginley

VISITORS to Kirkstall Abbey, in Leeds, really will get the chance to see if there are bats in the belfry as Leeds celebrates European Bat Weekend.

They will be the focus of attention at two free events organised by Leeds City Council taking place tomorrow, including an evening guided tour of the abbey ruins in search of bats.

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Kirkstall Abbey has become renowned in recent years for being a home to the common pipistrelle and daubenton’s bats, also known as the water bat, as the location is ideal close to the River Aire and the nearby West Leeds Country Park.

The bats can often be seen in the roof of the abbey ruins, and studies carried out by Leeds City Council have shown their numbers to be on the increase.

The day begins at Leeds Museum Discovery Centre, at Clarence Dock, from 1-4pm, where curator of natural science Clare Brown will give a talk about bats, how they live and also a look at Leeds museums and galleries’ own bat collection.

It is suitable for anyone over the age of five, the event also includes bat-related craft activities and games, as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of the objects in the discovery centre’s store area. To book a place call 0113 214 1548.

The action then moves on to Kirkstall Abbey at 7pm where, as darkness falls, those brave enough can take a guided tour of the abbey ruins and the surrounding parkland in search of the resident bats.

Places on the evening walk are strictly limited to 20 and are free but with a small donation welcomed. Anyone attending under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. To book call Kerry Fieldhouse on 0113 237 5326.