Squirrel Group

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Red Squirrel Group


We are volunteers, focused on the conservation of red squirrels in Coquetdale.


We undertake woodland monitoring of both red and grey squirrels and record sightings reported by members of the public within our area to establish:

i) where we have healthy populations of reds

ii) where the greys are making incursions and bringing the fatal squirrel pox to the reds 

We coordinate our activities with other volunteer groups across Northumberland.

We liaise with other bodies dedicated to the survival of red squirrels, in particular Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE).

We work with both RSNE and independent trappers:

i) to arrange the trapping of grey squirrels in areas of encroachment.

ii) to help preserve a better balance of the two species.

We work within our local community to publicise the plight of red squirrels and encourage people to help them.

We hold fundraising events to support our monitoring activities and help towards grey control.

We assist land-owners to obtain grants, e.g. from The Forestry Commission, to pay for trapping.



Now extinct in most parts of England, the red squirrel still lives in many woodland areas in Northumberland and in particular in and around Coquetdale.

As you enjoy the beautiful scenery in Coquetdale, you may be fortunate to see some of these delightful animals scampering up a tree or helping themselves to wild fruits and berries. For more information about the lifestyle of red squirrels click here: 

Threats to the red squirrel

Predators, viruses and changes to the landscape all pose threats to our native red squirrel but the introduction of the grey squirrel from America is thought to be the main reason behind a dramatic decline in the red population in recent years.

Red squirrels live in both native broadleaved woods and in planted conifer blocks but cannot compete with the larger grey squirrel. In addition the grey carries a virus that is fatal to reds. For more information on the threats to red squirrels click here:      

Helping red squirrels

Here in Coquetdale a group of volunteers, Coquetdale Squirrel Group, is working alongside other organisations such as Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE – and Northern Red Squirrels (NRS –

How can you help?

You can help by reporting any squirrel sightings, red or grey, dead or alive, to the Coquetdale Squirrel Group:

Phone us on:    0774 0779 729

E-mail us on:

This information helps us to build up a clear picture of where we have healthy red squirrels in good numbers and where the greys may be encroaching.

Whichever method you use please include your name and contact details so that we can get back to you if we need more information, plus the important information of WHAT, WHERE and WHEN:

What you saw
Where you saw it
When you saw it.

A simple example could be :

"James Brown, Tel No 01632 960464.
I saw 2 grey squirrels at the main entrance to Cragside House on 15th Oct. Both appeared healthy"

If you have red squirrels near your home you can support them by providing supplementary food, particularly in winter and through spring when their natural food is in short supply.

If you know there are squirrels in your area you could put up a few signs warning motorists to look out for them.

You could also support your local group by helping out at fund-raising events or other activities such as monitoring in woodland or your garden.

Join Us?

If you feel you can provide a little help or support to our group in any way please contact the group via the e-mail address or phone number above.

Jeanne Casken

Heather Lister


Red Reward
The Coquetdale Squirrel Group is delighted to report that Jeanne Casken, the Group’s founder and tireless worker for its cause over the last four years, has been presented with a Northumberland National Park Award. This recognises her continued dedication and energy in encouraging conservation of the red squirrel and her ability to inspire others to do likewise. With a growing team of volunteers she has sought grant aid, raised funds and instigated programmes of monitoring red and grey squirrels in Coquetdale and trapping greys where appropriate to assist reds retain their stronghold.

The Awards were established in 2011 to draw attention to the work of individuals for their innovation, dedication and service to the environment and Jeanne’s award is in the ‘Distinctive Places’ category. It highlights the importance of protecting and preserving the red squirrel so that Northumberland remains distinctive for being home to these increasingly rare and beautiful creatures.


Thank you for your help

Content produced by members of the Coquetdale Squirrel Group.

Photos by Dave Robinson and Hugo Aiken taken from their book "Nature in Northumberland's Upper Coquetdale"