Residents are being encouraged to celebrate one of the regions rarest and most fascinating wildlife species: greater horseshoe bats at events around the county. The month-long festival, which begins on August 25 with a launch event at Bovey Tracey, includes public bat walks organised by the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (September 18 and 25), and a drop in bat event followed by an evening talk at Braunton Countryside Centre (Wednesday, September 12). The centre also hosts one of the projects Bat Beacons, allowing visitors to find out more about bats through an interactive touchscreen. The festival is the only one of its kind in the UK and its events have been organised by the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project a five year partnership project made possible by National Lottery players through a £785,500 Heritage Lottery Fund grant, led by Devon Wildlife Trust. The project is working towards sustaining Devons population of these threatened nocturnal animals. Dave Edgcombe at North Devon AONB said: The festival is a great way of raising public awareness of these little known creatures. Braunton is a very special place for greater horseshoe bats, as the surrounding countryside provides excellent feeding grounds. So why not come along and join us to find out more? Greater horseshoe bats have seen their numbers plummet by over 90 per cent in the last 100 years. Today Devon remains a stronghold of this endangered species with about a third of the UK population found in the county. Further details and booking information for all the events can be found on the projects website www.devonbatproject.org/events.