Top places to spot red squirrels

Red squirrels are one of the UK’s best-loved species and are thriving in several places we look after thanks to careful conservation and habitat management. Autumn is the best time to see them with fewer leaves on the trees, making them easier to spot as they gather food ahead of the winter. Here are some of our best walks for spotting red squirrels.

A red squirrel standing on a tree trunk with a nut in its mouth
Walking trail

Aira Force, Lake District 

Aira Force, in the Lake District is a great spot for red squirrel watching, and there's even a volunteer squirrel ranger who looks after the resident population. The best way to spot these shy creatures is to visit the wildlife hide, which looks out at the squirrel feeders.

A red squirrel among some ferns and leaves.
Walking trail

Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, Northumberland 

At Allen Banks the red squirrels tend to spend their days in treetops, on the lookout for snacks of seeds and nuts. Keep your eyes peeled as you walk through the woods and you might be lucky enough to spot one.

A red squirrel at Allan Bank in Grasmere Cumbria

Allan Bank and Grasmere, Cumbria 

Red squirrels are an endangered species, and Grasmere is one of the few remaining places in the England where they still thrive. We help them by providing feeders which are clustered around the lawns, which means it’s usually easy to spot them if you stand in the Study and use the binoculars provided. Alternatively, take a stroll along the garden path to see if you can catch sight of one along the way.

Red squirrel on a tree trunk
Walking trail

Borthwood Copse, Isle of Wight 

For squirrel-spotting on the Isle of Wight, head to Borthwood Copse where the population is thriving in carefully managed woodland. The hazel here is coppiced on rotation so that there is always a good crop of nuts for the squirrels to eat.

Red squirrel on Brownsea Island, Dorset.
Walking trail

Brownsea Island, Dorset 

Brownsea Island is a haven for all sorts of wildlife including red squirrels, which should be easy to spot as they live here in large numbers. They're particularly fond of the Island's pine trees, and you'll often see chewed pine cones on the woodland floor.

A red squirrel at Formby, Liverpool, sitting by a trunk in the woodland eating a nut
Walking trail

Formby, Liverpool 

Formby is one of our top places for squirrel-spotting. They come out first thing in the morning to eat - look out for the feeders in the trees as this is often a good place to catch a glimpse of these shy creatures.

A red squirrel in trees.
Walking trail

Gibside, Tyne and Wear 

The Gibside estate in Tyne and Wear runs a conservation project for red squirrels to help keep the populations stable. See if you can spot one or two at the feeders – the rangers use a homemade mix of corn, nuts and seeds to attract the squirrels.

View of a foraging red squirrel
Walking trail

Mount Stewart, County Down 

Mount Stewart is one of the best places in Northern Ireland to see red squirrels. While we can't guarantee a sighting, you're most likely to encounter them early in the morning or late afternoon, behind the house and to the north of the lake. Follow our red squirrel trail as a guide to the top spots.

Red squirrel in a tree
Walking trail

Plas Newydd, Anglesey 

Plas Newydd, Anglesey offers the best chance of red squirrel spotting as they have the largest population in Wales and squirrel crossings connecting their habitats.

A red squirrel eating nuts
Walking trail

Wallington, Northumberland 

In June 2012, we started working with Red Squirrels Northern England on a major conservation project to save the red squirrel population before it's too late. Wallington now has a full-time Red Squirrel Ranger to help support our resident red squirrels, and they're thriving. Keep an eye out during a walk round the estate, or visit the hide to see if you can spot a few.

Video

Looking after the red squirrels at Wallington

The red squirrels at Wallington are looked after by Red Squirrel Ranger Glen Graham. Find out what we're doing to protect this population and how you can see them for yourself.