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.

In England, we're pleased to have been able to keep our gardens, parks and outdoor spaces open through the current lockdown. From 2 December, we'll be able to reopen some houses and welcome you to sit in our cafés again. In tier 3, indoor areas will remain closed and cafés will be takeaway only. Please follow your area's tiering system and government guidance when planning a visit.

Following Welsh government guidance, all places in Wales are now open for Wales residents, and we're pleased to be welcoming many of you again.

In line with Northern Ireland Executive circuit break restrictions, our gardens and parks in Northern Ireland will open from 28 November. All houses, shops and visitor centres will stay closed during the circuit break until 11 December, and cafés will be takeaway only.

Before visiting, please always check local and national government guidance on travelling. You can check the property webpage in case of local restrictions. We're following government advice closely and will reopen more places as soon as we can. 

Where to spot red squirrels near you
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 in the trees at Allen Banks
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.

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.

Brownsea Island red squirrel
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 islands pine trees, and you'll often see chewed pine cones on the woodland floor.

A red squirrel at Cragside

Cragside, Northumberland 

The team at Cragside are on the look out for red squirrels. Visit the wildlife hide, next to the formal garden and see what the feeding stations bring into view. If you're eagle-eyed enough to spot one, do let staff know.

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.

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. With dedicated support they're now thriving. Keep an eye out during a walk round the estate to see if you can spot a few.

ENN appeal image

Everyone needs nature appeal 

Trees that give us life, calming coastlines to walk along and bees that hum in blossoming flowers. Imagine if this all disappeared in the blink of an eye. You can make a difference when you donate today to help look after these natural spaces.