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Red squirrels at Plas Newydd

A red squirrel perches on a branch eating something with green ferns behind, on Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Dorset
A red squirrel surrounded by ferns enjoying a snack | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Seeing a red squirrel in the wild was a rare occurrence since their serious decline in the 1990s, but thanks to a re-introduction programme at Plas Newydd and other similar areas across Anglesey, they can now be spotted regularly in the garden and woodland at Plas Newydd.

Small beginnings

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 red squirrels can now be found throughout the estate and have even crossed the Menai Strait.

Spotting a red squirrel at Plas Newydd

These shy little creatures have become a regular attraction 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.

There are feeding stations around the wood, and they can now be spotted with some regularity. Plas Newydd has become a go-to destination to see them, especially for keen nature photographers.

A close up of a red squirrel on a branch on the floor of woodland on Brownsea Island, Dorset
A red squirrel foraging for food | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

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 20cm long, with a 18cm tail.
  • They moult their ear tufts once a year in late autumn.

Top spots to see a red squirrel at Plas Newydd, Anglesey

They may be shy, be can often be spotted throughout the gardens and woodland, particularly in Church Bank Wood and along the edge of the Menai Strait. Did you know that red squirrels don't hibernate? This means you stand a better chance of seeing them all year round, especially in the autumn and winter when there is a lot less foliage on the trees.

A close up of a red squirrel climbing a tree on Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Dorset
Have fun squirrel-spotting in the woods at Plas Newydd, Anglesey | © National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

Volunteer red squirrel rangers

To keep an eye on our red squirrels and make sure they continue to thrive, a team of volunteer Red Squirrel Rangers regularly check the feeding stations, care for the squirrels’ nest boxes and habitat.

To learn more about these timid little creatures, ask in the Visitor Centre about Red Squirrel Walk and Talk tours with one of our rangers.

The garden at Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, Anglesey, Wales, in full bloom in summer with house in the background.


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