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Sunday, 4 November 2012

25 Oct 12 visit to Combe Down Tunnel and Tucking Mill Viaduct

A short record of the visit to the tunnel, meeting with United Visual Artists (UVA) demonstrating the prototype of their lighting artwork, and a quick look at progress on top of Tucking Mill Viaduct.

Click here for the YouTube video


Matthew Holbrook said...

Thanks for another informative video Frank. Excellent progress.

Batnovice said...

In formative and very scary. How did this project get permission to install a sound and light experience?

I was against the opening of these tunnels to start with and everyone said no the bats will not be harmed, we've a bat consultant who knows what he is doing and now I find....

Mark A said...

@Batnovice: indeed, one of our aims is to increase the numbers of bats making use of the tunnels. When walking through in the nineteen seventies when the tunnels were open at both ends, I recall seeing bats in some numbers inside Combe Down.

The population of bats in both is now very low, repeated counts at different seasons have revealed just single figures.

Bat experts evaluated *how* the bats used the tunnels throughout the year - to ensure that they were not in use for mass hibernation or breeding. This happened before the project received the go-ahead.

It was found that Devonshire Tunnel in particular was too warm to allow bats to use it extensively - and of course, one entrance being completely buried, that end was beyond their reach.

Likewise, the steel doors at the south end of Combe Down were effectively 'Bat proof' which denied them access to the tunnel from the rich environment of Horsecombe Vale.

The lighting (including the feature lighting) has been designed to leave the majority of the crown of the tunnel in darkness. Even this lighting will be extinguished in the core night-time hours. Additional features have been provided within the tunnels as additional habitat to encourage bats - including, in Combe Down Tunnel, a 'Batcave' whose population can be monitored.

This will provide people to monitor the expected increase in use of the tunnels brought about by the change in their condition as a result of the Two Tunnels project - and learn more about their use of these sorts of structures.

Likewise, the sound element of the art installation (which will not be present throughout the length of Combe Down) works to a 'Human ear' frequency - imperceptible to bats.

I hope that this goes some way towards addressing your concerns that these fascinating and elusive creatures will be disadvantaged by the works to the Two Tunnels project.