WORK is underway to convert an old derelict boathouse at Hurcott Woods on the outskirts of Kidderminster into a haven for bats.

The new refuge will be the first of its kind in Worcestershire and rangers hope it will attract more species of bat back to the area, including the lesser Horseshoe bat.

Norgrove Developments Ltd is currently carrying out the work with support from Wyre Forest District Council’s ranger service.

Sharon Norgrove from Norgrove Developments said: “My husband, Jack Norgrove, and myself are regular visitors to Hurcott Pool and Woods, so we were pleased to accept the conservation project when local ranger Oliver Price approached us.

"We look forward to participating in many more similar projects in the future.”

A council grant of £7,000 was awarded to the project and funding was also received from the Worcestershire Bat Group and the Bat Conservation Trust.

Councillor Juliet Smith, cabinet member for culture, leisure and community protection, said: “Our nature reserves are some of the most beautiful places in the district and I am delighted that we have been able to support this very exciting conservation project.

"I hope that once the refuge is open, lots of local families and wildlife enthusiasts will come along to find out more about the bat species we have in our area.”

Rangers estimate the work will be completed by April.