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The Threave Bat Reserve at the National Trust for Scotland's Threave Estate, near Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway opened in 2010. It is the first reserve especially for bats in Scotland. Threave Estate is special because more bat species can be found there than any other place in Scotland.

Find out more about the Bat Reserve here >

Threave Bat Reserve provides wonderful educational opportunities for young people to learn through studying bats. These studies cover a wide range of the school curriculum: Science, Technologies, English (literacy and creative writing skills), Drama, and Art. All of our activities are linked to the purposes of the Curriculum for Excellence. There are a variety of activities to help young people learn in different ways, with lots of opportunities for hands-on engagement at a range of levels.

These activities were written and compiled by Carol Inskipp on behalf of the National Trust for Scotland. We are most grateful to Anne Youngman, Bat Conservation Trust Scotland, for her valuable comments on the draft and for some additional material, and to Neil Middleton from ECHOES Ecology Ltd for providing bat recordings and sonograms. Special thanks go to Scottish Natural Heritage for their contribution to funding for this project.

  • Facilities available for schools
      • pupil activities designed for 5-14 years at the Bat Reserve, including pupil resource sheets and worksheets such as those below
      • Bat Mobile – Threave’s interactive bat information zone
      • opportunity for teachers to make a free familiarisation visit and discuss what we have to offer your school
      • full online details of pupil activities designed as a follow-up to your visit
      • covered area for lunch and wet weather activities
      • toilets
      • shop
      • car park
      • café
      • trails around the Visitor and Countryside Centres and the garden trails are suitable for wheelchair access

      Our sessions are always planned and presented with the health and safety of the pupils in mind. We emphasise the need to look after our environment and to treat plants and animals with care. Threave rangers will supply visiting school groups with a wide selection of Pupil Resource Sheets to help them learn about bats during their visit and to help with post-visit activities. We have included some examples of Pupil Resource Sheets here:

      download Pupil Resource Sheet 8: Cartoons 1 & 2 (PDF)

      download Pupil Resource Sheet 3: How bats use echolocation. (PDF)

      We hope you enjoy your day out, and return to school with a better understanding of how we fit into the natural world.
  • How to book
      Sessions can be adapted to suit your requirements. Please call ahead to discuss your planned visit. It would help us if you are able to supply the following information when you call:
      1. Possible dates for your visit.
      2. Approximate number of students.
      3. The specific sessions you are interested in.
      4. Any special needs or requests to help the visit be as enjoyable as possible.

      For further information and rates contact our bat ranger at: telephone Tel:07899711742 or email

  • Getting there
      Address: Threave Estate, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway DG7 1RX
      Threave is situated 1 mile west of Castle Douglas, right beside the A75 and only 19 miles west of Dumfries

      Find out more >

Activities for school visits and post-visit activities