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News article created on 21 January 2015

WWII pillbox to be transformed into wildlife haven

We're going to transform an abandoned World War II pillbox on the banks of the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal into a wildlife haven over the coming months.

We're working with a team of local volunteers to turn the mini-fortress and surrounding land in Creech St Michael into wildlife habitats that can be enjoyed by the local community.

Local volunteers will join our experts to transform the structure into a refuge for bats, surrounded by a pond and a wildflower meadow. Habitat loss has been a major factor in the recent national decline of these fascinating mammals, who rely on cave-like places to safely rear their young.

Bat mansion

By kitting out the inside of the pillbox with spaces for the crevice-dwelling species to roost, and securing the door from disturbance by people, this relic of the war will provide a bat mansion set in a prime location. All 18 species of bats in the UK feed solely on insects so the wildflower meadow and pond will attract this food source, giving the bats an ‘all you can eat’ diner on their doorstep. 

David Viner, heritage advisor at the Canal & River Trust, said: “The pillbox is an interesting example of the defensive structures built in 1940 at the most critical part of the war, and adds to the rich history around the canal. While there are quite a number remaining, it’s tricky to find new uses for them, because they are fairly small and not very adaptable. Converting this one into a bat hideaway is a perfect use for it, as it both protects the building and local wildlife.

“It is so important that we preserve buildings like this, as they are such an integral part of our history. I’d like to thank our volunteers for all their effort so far and look forward to getting the work finished in the spring.”