Have you ever seen a red squirrel?
Try your luck on the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail, a 2.5-mile circular walk around Snaizeholme featuring a special red squirrel viewing platform.
Snaizeholme (near Hawes) in the Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of 17 Red Squirrel Refuges in northern England, areas of woodland that are managed and where red squirrels are encouraged to thrive.
Hugh and Jane Kemp, owners of Mirk Pot Farm in Snaizeholme, originally planted their land with Christmas trees. As the conifers grew, red squirrels were attracted to the abundant food supply and squirrel-friendly habitat. This led to the woodland being specially managed for red squirrel conservation.
These elusive creatures are the UK’s only native squirrel, the grey squirrel having been introduced at the turn of the 20th century. There are only 15,000 red squirrels in England, but you can still spot this rare and beautiful animal in woodland areas of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Hugh and Jane Kemp wanted to share their sightings of red squirrels, so they worked with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to set up a special viewing platform where walkers can pause to watch the red squirrels in the trees. A special feeder hangs in the space, to give visitors a good chance of spotting one of these delightful creatures.
Red squirrels are different to grey squirrels in several ways. They have tufted ears, rather than rounded ones, and they are about half the size of grey squirrels. Both species live in dreys, high in trees, and hoard food during times of plenty in preparation for the winter.
A small bus is available to take you from the Dales Countryside Museum to the start of the trail, a journey which takes around 10 minutes. For more details, read this leaflet from the YDNPA.