Red Squirrels

Tilhill Forestry work with local red squirrel groups to help monitor and encourage red squirrels

  • Red squirrels are protected species with both the animals and dreys protected by

The red squirrel is our native squirrel and is often found in coniferous woods mostly in Scotland, Cumbria and Northumberland with populations further south in England and Wales including Anglesey, Brownsea Island in Dorset and the Isle of Wight. The Red Squirrel Northern England group actively encourages reporting of all sightings of red

squirrel, find out more about how to report by visiting their website http://www.nwt.org.uk

Look out for:

Dreys. Are usually built in the fork of the main trunk or main branches of conifers – Norway spruce in particular and Scots pine being favoured species. Sitka spruce and larch trees are less likely to have dreys in them.

  • De-seeded cones on the Not conclusive proof, as greys also eat cones, but a good indication of squirrel activity/presence.


It is illegal to carry out forestry operations close to a Red Squirrel drey without taking steps to positively avoid damage. So always be alert to their presence and ensure you have a site briefing and understand any constraints or exclusion zones marked on the map of your working site.

It is a criminal offence to ‘intentionally’ or ‘recklessly’:

  • Kill, injure or take (capture) a red squirrel;
  • Damage, destroy or obstruct access to any structure or place which a red squirrel uses for shelter or protection;

Disturb a red squirrel while it is occupying a structure or place which it uses for that purpose

Further information for our contractors is found by reading the following Toolbox Talk: TT/14