Battle's Special Swift Project

Hastings and Rother Swift Conservation Group, East Sussex County Council, Swift Conservation and Action for Swifts have all worked together to drive forward this exciting, ambitious plan to have Swifts nesting in the Clock Tower of the Public Library in Battle, East Sussex. Clarke Roofing Southern Limited completed their work at the end of 2021 and here is the Library and Clock Tower resplendent in the December sunshine, with its 12 bespoke swift bricks tucked into the brickwork just under the spire roof.

Battle Library and Clock Tower in the winter sunshine, with new roofs and swift bricks     

Battle Library Clock Tower close up 

It  was during 2020 when, as part of our ongoing 'swift awareness raising' activities in Battle, a resident asked, "Why not Battle Library's Clock Tower?"  We responded, "How are we going to get up there?!?" 

Then 'lo and behold' - a few months later scaffolding was erected by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to carry out essential maintenance work and the ambitious project became reality!

We liaised with ESCC, Clarke Roofing of Eastbourne, Edward Mayer of Swift Conservation and Dick Newell of Action for Swifts. Working together, we slowly and methodically built the dream of twelve bespoke 'S Bricks' supplied by Action for Swifts. Swift Conservation kindly funded the bricks out of their donations. The bricks were eventually installed on Wednesday 21st April 2021 and, we must say, they perfectly complement the Library building!
                    12 swiftbricks Battle Library Battle Library clock tower artist impression
Above left: The 12 new 'S' Bricks designed by Dick Newell of Action for Swifts ready for installation

and, above right, an artist impression of the bricks in situ.

A swift call system was installed by Hastings and Rother Swift Conservation Group in early 2022 to attract birds from the Battle colony returning from Africa in April and May to breed.  The whole project will be fully documented by those involved and an exhibition was held within the Library during May, June and July 2022.  Live streamed video footage of occupied nests will be shown downstairs in the Library, once swifts have been successfully attracted and are nesting in the clock tower bricks.  We can't wait for the swifts to discover their new 'des-res' in Battle, in 2023!! 
Update: June 2023 - We see we already have 'prospectors'!  Swifts have been seen flying closely around the tower!!

Swift brick with perspex backAbove: Diagram of an 'S' Brick with a perspex back panel to allow CCTV observation in the Library below the Clock Tower

How it was done! Photos courtesy of Clarke Roofing Southern Limited

            Battle Clock Tower 1         

Battle Clock Tower 2

              Battle Clock Tower 3         

Battle Clock Tower 4

              Swift bricks view of installation from inside clock tower 

swift bricks inside tower, close up view of two

The perspex backs of the swift bricks will be fitted with 'shutters' to ensure nesting birds are not disturbed by light or workmen inside the tower should any maintenance work be required.

Swift Conservation advise that this is only the fourth UK Public Library to have Swifts nest places installed in it that they know of. The others are at Cullompton in Devon, Antrim and Bournemouth.  


We would now like to encourage as many homeowners as possible in our area to consider the more permanent and longer lasting option of swift bricks.

We can survey, advise, supply and install this option. Swift bricks can be retrofitted relatively easily. If you're having exterior work carried out on your property that requires scaffolding, or intend to in the future, please do contact us at:


Massive thanks to East Sussex County Council, Clarke Roofing (Eastbourne), Action for Swifts and Swift Conservation. 
Bless you all!!
Action for Swifts logo 
 Swift Conservation logo
 E.Sx.CC logo      Clarke Roofing logo