Red Squirrel Week

A Northumberland estate, which employs the National Trust’s only full-time red-squirrel ranger, is celebrating the animals this month.

Between next Wednesday and Sunday, October 1, visit Wallington, near Cambo, during Red Squirrel Week to learn about this rare breed and the work the National Trust does to protect these popular animals which call the estate home.

There are now approximately 150 reds at Wallington, with daily sightings at the wildlife hide, and Glen Graham is the man who works to support them.

Next week, join Glen for squirrel-spotting walks, watch recordings of squirrels thriving in the woodland and get creative with squirrel crafts.

A visit wouldn’t be complete without stopping in at the wildlife hide in the West Wood; with plentiful feeders, it really is the perfect place to spot a red squirrel, all that’s needed is a bit of time and patience.

It marks a real turn-around from 2011, when visitor sightings were down to just two or three a year.

Glen said: “Wallington is a truly special place and it’s a huge buzz to see our visitors enjoying the red squirrels – almost every day someone tells us that they saw their first-ever red from our wildlife hide.

“Red Squirrel Week gives us the opportunity to share this important conservation work with visitors and show how the National Trust looks after this rare breed.”

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Prior to 2006, there was a good red-squirrel population across the Wallington estate and sightings were frequent and expected by visitors. However, the first grey squirrels arrived and in the following year, there was a devastating outbreak of the deadly squirrel pox virus.

By 2011, the red population was near non-existent. In an area where red squirrels once thrived, the threat of extinction spurred the National Trust to team up with partners and launch a special project to conserve this rare species.