Where are the best places to see red squirrels in the UK?

This elusive critter has several secret hideaways where it can be spotted scurrying through the trees hiding nuts and seeds for the approaching winter


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1. Brownsea Island

The largest island in Poole harbour is Brownsea, and the entire island is a Natural Trust reserve. The island has a lot of unique wildlife, and red squirrels populate the trees as the grey squirrel has never been introduced, and day visitors can journey across the harbour from Poole quay.


2. Northern Ireland

Despite low forest cover, Northern Ireland has a population of red squirrels protected by many public groups who organize events and help conservation efforts across the country. Sightings are widespread across the region, but Glenariff forest park is one of the main red squirrel hotspots in Northern Ireland.


3. Cumbria

The Lake District and surrounding areas are known for red squirrel sightings, and its tranquil mountain landscape is a haven for the agile squirrel. Whinlatter forest and visitor centre in Keswick is a perfect place to see red squirrels and enjoy the stunning mountain panorama.


4. Isle of Wight

The grey squirrel does not live on the Isle of Wight, but it is home to a strong population of 3500 red squirrels. Grey squirrels are unable to populate the island as it is separated from mainland England by five kilometers (three miles) of sea, although residents notice occasional grey invaders.


5. Northumberland

The ancient woodlands of Northumberland attract thousands of visitors every year, as well as red squirrels that feed throughout the park. Feeding stations and hides are ideal places to wait for a sighting, and these are scattered around the park and the rest of northern England.


6. Scotland

The vast pine forests of Scotland are home to 75 percent of the UK’s red squirrel population and Cairngorms national park is one of the best places in the country to see them. Scotland’s 120 000 squirrels are protected by charities and conservation groups who raise funds and awareness across the nation.



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Photograph: Peter Trimming