Red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) live in coniferous forests and deciduous woods in Europe and northern Asia. Their range extends from the UK, Ireland and western Europe to Russia, Mongolia, and northwest China.
Numbers in the UK have fallen dramatically since grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) were introduced as an ornamental species in the 1870s.
Since then, the UK population of reds has dropped from around 3.5 million to between 120,000 to 160,000 individuals (according to different estimates). The population in England is thought to be as low as 15,000.
Population strongholds are Scotland, Northumberland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Lake District as well as on islands such as Brownsea.
If you want to see them in the wild, prime spotting times are morning and late afternoon because that’s when they’re most active.
Woodland Trust sites that are home to reds in Scotland are: Plora Wood, Glen Finglas, Crinan Wood, Abriachan Wood, Balmacaan, and Glencharnoch Wood.
In Cumbria you’re most likely to see them at Ridgewood, Miltonrigg Wood, Shank Wood, and Spooner Vale.