Elusive, shy and fascinating creatures: red squirrel numbers were in serious decline in the 1990s, but thanks to a re-introduction programme at Plas Newydd and other similar spots on Anglesey they can now be spotted with regularity… if you know what you’re doing.

Six red squirrels were brought to Plas Newydd in October 2008, held in woodland enclosures for a few weeks, then released into the deciduous woodland. They bred successfully, and can now be found throughout the estate, and have even crossed the Menai Strait.

Barbara Stanley, Visitor Experience Manager at Plas Newydd explains how popular the little creatures have become with visitors over recent years.

“It used to be such a rare occurrence, spotting a red, but thanks to the re-introduction programme here as part of the Anglesey Red Squirrel Project they seem to be thriving.

“We’ve added new feeding stations around the woods and they can now be spotted with some regularity, which is such a thrill for our visitors. Plas Newydd has become a go-to destination to come and see them, especially for keen nature photographers.”

Have fun squirrel-spotting in the woods
A red squirrel in the woods at Plas Newydd

Red squirrel facts

  • Reds are great swimmers (is this how they crossed to the mainland?)
  • Their diet is mostly seeds, acorns, berries, fungi and bark
  • Their average life span is 3 years
  • Squirrels live in nests called dreys, built high up in trees
  • A fully grown red measures roughly 20cm long, with a 18cm tail
  • They moult their ear tufts once a year in late autumn

Squirrel spotting

See if you can catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures. They can be spotted throughout the gardens and woodlands, particularly in Church Bank Wood and along the edge of the Menai Strait. What's more, reds don't hibernate so you stand a chance of seeing them all year round!

While pretty timid on the whole, a bit of bird food can tempt them closer, as proved by 'Justin', a frequent visitor to the office window over Christmas:

Say hello to Justin
Justin the red squirrel visits the office window

The gardens are open 10.30am til 5.30pm at weekends, then every day from Monday 14 March.