Winter wildlife in the North East

Atlantic grey seals, cheeky red squirrels or shy deer, there's plenty of wildlife to be found right here in the North East, even in the chilly winter months. Here are our top spots for nature-lovers.

Close up of a young, female, grey seal

Find a Farne island seal 

With over 2,200 fluffy seal pups born on the Farnes in 2016, the population is booming. In winter, while you can't land on the islands, a boat tour will give you an up close and personal view of these playful creatures.

Sunrise over Fox Holes near Easington Colliery, County Durham

Walk with a ranger on the Durham Coast 

Join a monthly ranger-guided walk at Hawthorn Hive and Easington Colliery. Stop off for winter rock pooling or taking a diversion to explore freshwater streams. February walks will take in amazing snowdrop woodlands at Hawthorn Dene, a spirit-lifting sign that the land is waking up and spring is on its way.

A red squirrel eating nuts

Catch a red squirrel at Wallington 

With a dedicated ranger on hand to enhance their habitat, Wallington is fast becoming known as Northumberland's top red squirrel spots. There are more than 200 living across the estate but the enchanting West Wood is a haven for this protected species.

Volunteer helping children to make a bird feeder

Join Bird Week at Souter Lighthouse 

As a home to a whole host of seabirds, like fulmar and cormorant, where better than the Leas to get a closer look at our feathered friends? Join a 'Know your birds' identification workshop or get creative in a bird craft sessions for kids. Or even build a home for nature by constructing a bird box to take home.

A roe deer peers between trees

Spot a deer at Gibside 

In the morning light, deer have been spotted eating the acorns from the oaks along the avenue at Gibside. They've also been sighted in Snipes Dene and leaping out of the grass in front of the majestic banqueting hall. The challenging, five mile wonders of nature trail is a great route for finding these elusive creatures.

Otter print at Allen Banks, Northumberland

Be patient for an otter at Allen Banks 

Inquisitive, playful and intelligent, otters are fun-loving creatures! They are semi-aquatic mammals and live in holts around water edges. We've sighted them at Hagg Bank at Plankey Mill, just look for clues to their whereabouts in the sand and mud on the river bank. Tread quietly and carefully and you never know what you may find.