Red squirrels used to be seen here, there and everywhere in the UK, but when grey squirrels first came to England from North America in 1876 (intended to look pretty on the grounds of stately homes), red squirrels gradually went into decline.
Stats from Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) suggest that there are only around 15,000 red squirrels in England at the moment, falling from a population of 3.5 million. So it’s unlikely that you’ll spot some of these beautiful creatures when out and about in the countryside.
However, if you decide to book places to stay in Northumberland, your chances are probably better than elsewhere in the country. The latest RSNE Red Report squirrel survey shows that these animals can be found widely across the north of England and, in fact, there are seven counties where populations can be found.
Red squirrels have been detected in more sites than grey squirrels in 2016 so far, thanks to wet weather and a lack of food favoured by greys having an impact.
“We are really pleased by the fantastic news that red squirrels have remained stable since the last survey, having been a little concerned by the rise in greys over the last two years. There are lots of opportunities to see red squirrels and I would really encourage everyone to go and see them in the wild for themselves,” RSNE project manager Nick Mason said.
Where to see red squirrels in Northumberland
There are two feeding stations at Woodhorn Museum in Ashington, while there’s a dedicated hide at Kielder Castle. You are also likely to find them at Howick Hall Gardens and Aboretum in Alnwick and Kielder Water and Forest Park in Kielder.