Wildlife festival is hailed a big success

Finlay Douglas, seven, won the U16 section of the red squirrel photography competition with this picture.
Finlay Douglas, seven, won the U16 section of the red squirrel photography competition with this picture.
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A MORPETH conservation group played its part in a major county nature event.

Hundreds of families from across Northumberland went along to Woodhorn for a wildlife festival that was hosted by the tourist attraction and Morpeth and District Red Squirrels (MAD RS).

The day included a display of birds of prey and woodland walks led by a member of MAD RS, who works as a professional ranger for Red Squirrels Northern England.

Colleagues from voluntary groups in Ponteland and Coquetdale had stalls selling produce and informing visitors about the valuable work being done to protect red squirrels in the area.

The Red Squirrel Survival Trust and Northumberland Wildlife Trust had displays and the Hedgehog Rescue Service was also represented.

Joint co-ordinator Kate Weightman said: “Everyone who came along really enjoyed themselves and the red squirrels who live at Woodhorn sensibly kept well away from the walkers, but surprised and delighted visitors who stayed after the walks were over by dashing out to the feeders placed within the grounds.

“To complete a day of strong and constructive partnership work between MAD RS and Woodhorn staff, the wonderful prize of a weekend in a luxury cottage in the Lake District, star attraction in the MAD RS raffle, was won by someone working within the records management section of the museum.”

A red squirrel photographic competition was also held and there was a very high standard of entries. The under 16 section winner was seven-year-old Finlay Douglas, who lives in Stobhill Farm Estate.

MAD RS was set up in February 2012 following the cessation of the Morpeth Red Squirrels group.

As well as its core team, many volunteers feed red squirrels in their locality, report sightings and alert the team to the places where greys have been spotted.

For more information about the group, visit www.madredsquirrels.com