Our native red squirrels become particularly active in woodland areas in autumn,
once the leaves have started to fall and nuts and seeds have dropped to the floor,
as they feed voraciously to put on weight before the onset of winter – and they are easier to spot.
As well as eating they are also storing food in underground caches which, if they can
remember where they are, will also supplement their winter diet. Neither red nor grey
squirrels hibernate but they are less active in extremely cold conditions.
Anglesey is one of the few areas in the UK that enjoys a permanent red squirrel population
and below are just a few walks where you are likely to see them in the autumn. Please
follow the countryside code and preferably don’t take dogs with you as the squirrels will see
them first and rapidly disappear. Be quiet and, of course, take any litter home with you.
Don’t forget to pack your binoculars as reds are likely to be up in the tree canopy.
Locations where you may see red squirrels in Cumbria and The Lakes
Red Squirrels are often spotted around Windermere but to improve your chances head to
woodlands at Claife Heights and Grizedale Forest. Other areas where you are more likely to
see the red squirrels are listed below.
Allan Bank, Grasmere
The National Trust’s Allan Bank is a good place to spot red squirrels. This Grade 11 listed
building was once the home of William Wordsworth but is now a relaxed spot for visitors to
enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Dodd Wood, Keswick
Perched above Bassenthwaite Lake, Dodd Wood is a great place for spotting all kinds of
wildlife including red squirrels and, at the right time of year, osprey.
Smardale Nature Reserve, Kirby Stephen
Walk along Smardale Gill and onto Smardale Viaduct where you might be lucky enough to
spot red squirrels running alongside you in the trees.
Whinlatter Forest, Keswick
This is a popular red squirrel spotting destination. There are feeders on the trees along the
walking trail from the visitor centre.
Greystoke Forest, Penrith
Another popular spot of red squirrel spotting but, for the best chance, head to the areas of
larch trees or Scots pine and take some binoculars to see high up into the canopy where you
are more likely to see the reds.
Locations where you may see red squirrels in Northumberland
Hauxley Nature Reserve
Red squirrels are often spotted using the feeders near the car park at this Northumberland
Wildlife Trust reserve.
Red squirrels are spotted regularly at this National Trust Property at the bird hides and
around the gardens. It is estimated there are 150 reds at Wallington.
Reds can be seen year round in Northern Europe’s largest man-made forest and it is
estimated that at least one third of England’s red squirrel population lives here.
Hareshaw Linn, Bellingham
This SSSI is within the Northumberland National Park and is home to a permanent
population of red squirrels. Other locations with the national park that have red squirrels
are Holystone Woods and Simonside Forest.
Howick Hall Gardens and Arboretum
The ancestral seat of the Earls Grey and home to Earl Grey Tea is an excellent place to watch
red squirrels in the arboretum. Here there are more than 11,000 trees creating ideal
conditions for the reds.
East Cramlington Nature Reserve
The healthy population of red squirrels is a tribute to the Cramlington and District Red
Squirrel Group and one of its members, Leon Savage is the Red Squirrel Survival Trust’s
Volunteer of the Year 2022. Look out for the two Squirrel Bridges that span the busy B road.
Locations where you may see red squirrels near Formby in Lancashire
Formby’s sweeping pinewoods are home to reds. This National Trust location is famous for
its reds that are accustomed to being fed and are very tame – excellent for photographers.
Vanessa Fawcett, campaign director of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, explains: “There are
an estimated 287,000 reds in the UK with approximately 38,900 in England. It is essential
that we are extremely careful when going out to watch them and do nothing to harm the
woodlands in which they live.
The greatest single threat to them is the non-native grey
squirrel, many of which carry a pox that is harmless to them but almost inevitably fatal to
our native reds. If members of the public do see reds, we would be grateful if they would