Wildlife at Allen Banks and Staward Gorge

A red squirrel among some ferns and leaves.

With over 41 hectares, and lots of hiding holes on offer, it's no surprise that there's an abundance of wildlife at Allen Banks; from birds and insects to bats and rare species such as the red squirrel and dormouse.

Red squirrels

The red squirrel was once the only squirrel species in England, now, the red is in direct competition with the grey (imported from America).
The reds tend to spend their days in treetops and are mostly on the lookout for a snack such as seeds and acorns- often cracking an acorn open in seconds.


These little endangered beauties are the reason Allen Banks has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
This dictates that we manage the woodland a certain way, all to encourage the dormouse to create their home here, breed and stay with us for the long haul.

Roe deer

We all know one famous roe deer, Disney's Bambi. Before 1960 because of the damage they caused to the forestry industry they were treated as vermin.
Unlike other deer, they do not live in herds but are most often seen as solitary individuals or as a family group of a mother and her offspring- does give birth to one to three fawns in May or June.


Nocturnal, and with the potential to be elusive, the mighty badger remains one of the UK's favourite mammals.
Badgers are social creatures and live together in large underground setts, which they pass on to their young while always expanding and refining them, resulting in huge tunnel systems that are in some cases, centuries old.

Bat Life

As part of our fantastic project, BatLife, we are currently learning all about them by collecting data and monitoring the bats around Hadrian's Wall Country.

Otters are on the up at Allen Banks

Inquisitive, playful and intelligent, Otters are fun-loving creatures! They just love to be on muddy banks - as we can see on the video recording showing otters at Hagg Bank at Plankey Mill here in Allen Banks. They are semi-aquatic mammals and live in holts around water edges. Bubbles of air trapped in their fur give them a silvery appearance underwater.