Long-eared and Whiskered!

Two Thirds of Britain’s Bat Species can be found at Bodmin Jail.

Fittingly, for an old building steeped in history, Bodmin Jail is much loved by bats.
Of the 17 resident bat species in Britain, Bodmin Jail is home to seven of these (Common Pipistrelle, Brown Long-eared, Lesser Horseshoe, Greater Horseshoe, Whiskered, Daubenton’s and Natterer’s).
An additional four species (Nathusius’ Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Barbastelle and Noctule) have been recorded foraging within the immediate environs of the jail, meaning that two thirds of Britain’s bat species occur here!

Bat Nursery

Photo by Mark Tunmore

The jail is particularly important for its colony of Greater Horseshoe and Lesser Horseshoe bats, including a maternity roost of the latter species. Horseshoe bats are among the rarest of Britain’s bat species, being restricted to south-west England and Wales, and estimated to have declined by 90% during the twentieth century. All of Britain’s bat species are protected by law as a result of their historic declines and threats to their habitats.

The best way to see bats at Bodmin Jail is to keep an eye out just after sunset, when they may be seen foraging around the car park or emerging from buildings; they are also sometimes seen during night walks flying along the corridors of the jail.

Horseshoe batIf you are lucky enough to encounter a bat during your time at Bodmin Jail don’t be afraid as it won’t harm you and bats don’t get caught in people’s hair as folklore would have us believe. Bats are not blind and their navigational systems allow them to fly fast with pinpoint accuracy, to rival the skills of any RAF pilot. There are no vampire bats in Britain and all our native species feed upon insects – a single pipistrelle bat can eat more than 3000 insects in one night

Bodmin Jail has invested heavily in the construction of an additional bat abode to help secure the future of this colony – a bespoke building, designed with the bat’s welfare in mind; to be an attractive, comfortable, and safe environment in which these fascinating little creatures can thrive.

Further information about bats can be found on the Bat Conservation Trust’s website.

Posted: 14th March 2018 By: Tara Jones

What’s NEW at the Jail for 2018?

The on-going development of the Jail site has enabled us to add more features to enhance our visitor experience – this month we have introduced:

Ghost Walks

– every Wednesday night from 8.30pm to the witching hour… take a guided walk through Bodmin Town to view key points & buildings, and hear all about their historical & paranormal links with the Jail, finishing with a Paranormal Tour of the Jail.

Timeline Room

– learn about the history of the jail and our plans for the future…

Jail timeline roomJail timeline room





Heritage Guides

– we now have friendly free-roaming guides within the jail; pass the time of day in the knowledgeable company of Jess & Kirsten and learn more about the jail, its history & future, and its nefarious past residents. We also have personal Guided Tours available to book in advance.

Paranormal Room

– discover more about the science of paranormal.

Paranormal RoomEtymology board












Posted: 6th March 2018 By: Tara Jones

Testimony to the Builder

As rays of sunlight pierce the broken glass of the cell windows and cast
their warming light deep into the derelict cells, you can’t help but think of
the men that did time in those four cells ripped apart by the demolition
blast of 1930.

One can’t help but also admire the work of the builders who,
some 160 years ago so skillfully built the formidable Civil Wing here at
Bodmin Jail.

Robert Goodyear & Sons of Adelaide Street, East Stonehouse in Plymouth,
certainly were master craftsman, and the responsibility of preserving their
work now falls upon another generation of skilled craftsman and stonemasons
to ensure the buildings are here to admire in another 160 years.

Work is underway and scheduled for completion in 2019 – keep watching for

Posted: 5th March 2018 By: Tara Jones