The reds spread across the map, says survey

Redheads have been causing quite a stir across Northumberland and the rest of the north, as the results of a major survey are released.

Over 1,200 hours of work by volunteers and staff this spring has created an exciting new picture of the native red squirrels’ current geographical range in northern England.

‘Red Army’ volunteers and staff from the Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) conservation partnership visited 239 woodlands across Northumberland, and the rest of northern England, to establish exactly which species of squirrels are now living in them.

New maps now show that red squirrels are still living in woodlands right across Northumberland, well beyond identified strongholds such as Kielder Forest.

Red squirrels were found in 113 of the 239 woodlands surveyed and are still present across five northern English counties.

Additional sightings from trained volunteers and members of the public havebeen added to build an even more complete picture of red squirrel distribution.

The main conservation threat to red squirrels in England comes from the competition and disease problems caused by non-native grey squirrels.

Grey squirrels were detected in 34 per cent of woodlands surveyed, a sobering reminder of the conservation challenge red squirrels continue to face.

Adam Seward, RSNE co-ordinator of the project, said: “We are grateful to all supporters of this enormous survey.

“The results will provide a vital benchmark against which to measure changes in squirrel species range in future years.”