Red Squirrels

If you keep your eyes peeled you may well see one of our red squirrels. They are quite often seen on the Viaduct Walk which circuits Kirkby Stephen to the south east and on the footpath from Kirkby Stephen to Nateby. You are most likely to spy a red squirrel in the wooded areas near to the rivers and streams.

Red squirrels in the UK are under threat from the introduced grey squirrel and this area of Cumbria is no exception, although the situation is improving. So you may well also see a grey. Numbers of red squirrels in the UK have fallen from a onetime high thought to be around 3.5 million, to a current estimated population of around 120,000. The population in England is thought to be as low as 15,000. The most significant threat associated with grey squirrels is the spread and transmission to the reds of a disease called squirrelpox virus.

Red Squirrels Northern England aims to increase red squirrel populations through a program of tightly monitored and targeted grey squirrel control. The organisation carries out biannual monitoring of red and grey squirrel distribution throughout the north of England. To find out more about their work or log a sighting, please visit

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