Scottish Wildlife Trust volunteers have completed work to secure and upgrade a bat hut at Upper Nethan Gorge Wildlife Reserve in South Lanarkshire.
The hut was converted from a disused railway building hut in the early 1990s but was damaged by vandals in 2016.
A large wooden board has been used to create a divide and keep half of the hut at a relatively constant temperature. 14 new bat boxes have also been installed in addition to a reinforced metal door.
Reserve Manager Steve Blow said: “All bats in Scotland are protected by law so it was sad to discover the hut had been vandalised after 15 years of peaceful use. Fires had been started inside and the door was broken down making it was virtually unusable.
“Our volunteers have done a great job fixing the place up. As well as securing the building, we’ve also made some improvements that should allow bats to roost here for longer periods.
“Old dilapidated buildings are great habitats for bats because they are dark, quiet, and have lots of nooks and crannies. The hut does look a little bit like a prison cell after the repairs but it should be a perfect space for bats.
“It could be some time before we know if it is being used but we’ve created a small viewing hole in the door. This will let us look for piles of poo left by any new residents so we can tell if it providing a good space for them to roost and nest.”
Upper Nethan Gorge Wildlife Reserve is an ancient woodland gorge carved out by the River Nethan.
Seven species of bat were recorded on the reserve as part of the 2016 South of Scotland Bat Survey, including pipistrelles, natterers, Daubentons and Scotland’s largest bat, the noctule.