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Red squirrels are native to Britain but sadly over the years they have become endangered, and are now a rare sight. However, there are still a few places in Cumbria where you can spot these beautiful creatures in the wild. Take a look at our list below for the best locations to see red squirrels in the Lake District.
National Trust’s Allan Bank is a great place to spot red squirrels in the Lake District. This Grade II listed building was once the home of William Wordsworth, but is now a relaxed place for visitors to come and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Cosy up by the fire inside and grab a pair of binoculars by the window, or venture into the extensive grounds and spot red squirrels hopping about in the trees!
Perched above Bassenthwaite Lake, Dodd Wood is an excellent location for spotting all kinds of wildlife, including red squirrels! Head up through the forest and see red squirrels in the canopy above, or keep an eye on the feeders near the Osprey Viewing platform for a closer encounter.
Enjoy a walk along Smardale Gill and onto Smardale Viaduct, spotting red squirrels running alongside you in the trees. In the last decade, reds have begun to thrive here once more after almost becoming extinct in this area due to an increase in the number of greys. Today, Smardale nature reserve would make a lovely, peacfeul spot to see red squirrels in the Lake District, being off the beaten track and away from the crowds.
Whinlatter Forest is a popular destination for spotting red squirrels in the Lake District! There’s loads on offer here – from walking routes to mountain bike trails, and GoApe adventures plus family play areas, you could easily spend a whole day here. Head off on the walking trail straight from the visitor centre and look out for squirrels on the feeders.
Greystoke Forest near Penrith is an ideal place to see red squirrels in the Lake District. There are numerous walking and cycling trails throughout the woodland, with loads of wildlife to see along the way – including badgers, woodpeckers and roe deer! For the best chance of seeing red squirrels, head to the areas of larch trees or Scots pine and take some binoculars to see high up in the branches.
Image credits: Alice Wills Photography