Ponteland Red Squirrels

Safeguarding Ponteland's Red Squirrels for Future Generations

A Member of Northern Red Squirrels
www.northernredsquirrels.org.uk

Our umbrella group, Northern Red Squirrels, is attempting to produce an overall picture of where red squirrels can be found. Please help by reporting your sightings. Simply click on the above icon and add your details to our squirrel sightings form.

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2011 Squirrel Survey


View Ponteland Survey 2011 in a larger map

Why We Exist

Over recent years the population of the native red squirrel in the UK has declined sharply. The main threat is the invasion of the grey squirrel. Introduced from America in the 19th Century, the grey, a much larger species, has spread across the UK at an increasingly alarming rate. Competing for food and habitat it also carries the deadly Squirrel Pox virus, which is only harmful to the red.

Northumberland is now one of the few counties in England where red squirrels still exist. Recently, 16 key sites have been identified in the North of England (such as Kielder Forest) where it is felt that the red squirrel has the best chance for survival. This is great news for red squirrels, although it is unfortunate that all efforts and funding will be restricted solely to those areas.

Over recent years the red squirrel colonies in the Ponteland and Darras Hall area have declined sharply. This is due to several factors: destruction of habitat, road kill as well as the the influx of grey squirrels into the area.

PONTELAND RED SQUIRRELS is a local volunteer group set up to help raise awareness and, maintain and increase the population of red squirrels in the Ponteland and Darras Hall area.

To be successful, we need the help and cooperation of the people from the area. OTHERWISE, PONTELAND’S RED SQUIRRELS COULD DISAPPEAR. Click here to see how you can help.

Finally, we are a totally voluntary organisation and as such, do not qualify for any form of funding. If you would like to assist in our cause by making a donation, please click here to contact us for further information.

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Hotline Number: 07878 061 880

Latest News :

Squirrel Sightings
(Posted 13 November 2014)

As of a few days ago, we have been receiving over 50 spam emails per day. Yor webmaster is not an expert on spam however, the emails appear to be being generated via the Sightings Report form. Hence, I have removed the form (temporarily I hope) until I can address the problem. In the meantime, could you please report sightings via the hotline (number above), the feedback form or to info@pontelandredsquirrels.co.uk. The information required is your name, contact details (email or phone so that we can get back to you particularly if you are reporting a grey), colour, location, date and any relevant comments, eg if a grey, if it is being seen regularly.

Squirrel Update
(Posted 10 April 2014)

We are getting sightings all over Darras Hall (mainly round the periphery), including reds nest building, which is excellent news.We have also had red sightings from Kirkley Mill, Kirkley Zoo, Dissington Hall (after clearing 20 greys since Feb), Prestwick Carr, Blagdon Estate (Glen, RSNE, has removed over 100 greys).  We have also received a sighting of reds on the Golf Course.

A new group has been set up in Woolsington which is part of the Woolsington Residents Association. They have raised funds to pay for a trapper and have now caught 71 greys.  We hope that reds will soon recolonize the area.

One of our Ponteland RS members is trapping in the Milbourne area and has caught 8 squirrels.  We knew that greys were likely to return there after Glen (RSNE) cleared the area last year; it is pleasing that there are not too many.  Hopefully, Milbourne Hall will be seeing reds again in the not too distant future.

We have received an 80 donation from Dissington Hall, which will help us to buy more bait and traps. We have only had one sighting of a grey in the last month, around Western Way.  It hasn't been caught and hasn't been seen recently, however, it may still be around. If anyone would be willing to do a leaflet drop to raise awareness and encourage grey sightings at the bottom and middle part of Western Way please let me know.

The Party In The Park is on the 8th June.  I think it would be good to have another stall or Marquee.  If you have any ideas, are willing to help or know someone who would like to get involved, please let Sally know, either via the above hotline or by email,
sally@pontelandredsquirrels.co.uk.

A Squirrel Watch Newsletter is to be issued at the end of April/beginning of May. If anyone has any interesting squirrel news, photos or suggestions, please let Sally know ASAP (target completion date 20 April) using the hotline or email.

It is intended to have a two week 'Snap-shot' Survey in May. This will enable the current sightings map to be brought up to date. Details will be in the newsletter. 

Squirrel News
(Posted 02 February 2014)


We are pleased to report that we are getting regular sightings of red squirrels across Darras Hall Estate and further afield. We have caught a small number of greys and really appeal to everyone to report any grey sightings as soon as possible, especially if they are visiting a squirrel or bird feeder. Please use the hotline number above or the form on this site.

Blagdon Estate has had an outbreak of squirrel pox. We are hoping this has been contained. Kirkley Hall are enjoying a revival of red squirrels after carrying out a trapping programme in 2013 which will be continued. They are currently developing a Red Squirrel and Wildlife Walk in their grounds.

We would like to thank everyone who purchased a Calendar. We raised funds which will really help our efforts in the Ponteland and District Area.

Finally, we are really interested in anyone who has a little bit of time to be a part of our group. If you would like further information on how you can help please contact Sally on 07878 061880 or sally@pontelandredsquirrels.co.uk.

2014 Squirrel Calendars (now sold out)
(Posted 14 November 2013)


These will make an ideal Christmas gift and can be purchased for 5 (you can add an optional donation if you wish). To order, contact Sally by email (sally@pontelandredsquirrels.co.uk) or phone (07878 061 880). They will be delivered free in the Ponteland and Darras Hall areas, otherwise, P&P is 1 or 2 for recorded delivery.

Squirrel Pox Outbreak and Influx of Greys
(Posted 14 November 2013)


There is a rumour that there has been an outbreak of the squirrel pox virus at Bolam Lake. Whilst there has as yet been no similar sighting in Ponteland, please be vigilant and if you see any reds with the symptoms (click here to see symptoms but please be warned, they are not pleasant), call the hot line. Similarly, use the hot line to report any grey sightings (there have been sightings reported via the website).

Spring 2013 PRS Newsletter Published
(Posted 13 May 2013)


The latest PRS Newsletter is now available to view on-line, click here to open. This has articles on the current status of our red population, details of the increasing numbers of greys that invaded our area in 2012, the contribution by Kirkley Hall and the work of our squirrel ranger Glen (who is now the RSNE Squirrel Ranger for South East Northumberland).

2012 Red Squirrel Review by Sally
(Posted 29 October 2012)


We started the year with devastating news as ALL the Ponteland area's red squirrels had been wiped out with squirrel pox disease, which had been passed on by Grey squirrels. However, our Darras Hall population was reasonably unscathed, although numbers were still at an all time low due to the 2010 outbreak.

Spring brought an increase in red sightings in Darras Hall with a few being seen again in the village. Summer was fantastic with more and more reds being reported, including several youngsters. However, we did have 3 road kills in the area. Grey squirrels were few and far between and we were removing them as they entered the area, as well as in the wider area.

Suddenly, as our wet summer turned into an even wetter September, we began to get reports of juveniles greys - lots of them! Since then we have been run off our feet working hard to keep our area clear of greys in order to give our red squirrels a fighting chance.

To date, we have removed over 130 greys from Ponteland, Darras Hall and the surrounding area.
We are continuing our efforts as the greys are still invading!

Further afield, other volunteer groups, all under the Umbrella of Northern Red Squirrels, have been busy along with landowners doing their bit and the new Red Squirrels Northern England Project (RSNE), which has short-term Rangers working further north (Wallington north) to protect the buffer zone of the larger forests such as Kielder, Harwood and Raylees.

In our area, we need to maintain our vigilance and report any greys seen as soon as possible, preferably by ringing the hotline number above but if this is not possible, via the
sightings form on this site.

I would like to thank all those people who have already reported sightings and helped us trap and remove greys from the area. With your continued help, we will win!

Newsletter Issue 14 Published
(Posted 26 March 2012)


The latest Newsletter is now available to view on-line. The key message is that while the squirrel pox virus has reduced significantly the red squirrel population, it has not wiped it out. Hopefully the breeding season will see an increase, however, it is still crucial that any greys found are removed as soon as possible. Please remember to ring the hotline if you see one.

Click here to display the newsletter (you will need Adobe Acrobat to display but if you do not have this on your computer already, it can be downloaded from the internet for free; visit http://www.adobe.com/products/reader/ and click on the free download icon.

Waitrose Presents Cheque for 214 to PRS
(26 March 2012)

Waitrose has very kindly donated a cheque for 214 to Ponteland Red Squirrels from its excellent Community Matters initiative. PRS would like to express their thanks to Waitrose for this third very generous donation which will be used to continue its efforts to increase the red squirrel population in Ponteland which suffered greatly in 2011 owing to an outbreak of squirrel pox following the influx of large numbers of greys.

Squirrel Survey Results
(Posted 31 January 2012)


The results of the November survey have been added to a Google Map which has been included on the right hand side of this page. As can be seen, there were relativley few sightings and those that were reported were mostly towards the south of Darras. Some were also outside the survey period but have been included to give a more complete picture. There was only one report of a poxed squirrel (the blue flag) and this was close to the golf course. There were no reports of grey squirrels, however, it should not be assumed that there are none. It is still crucial that greys are removed if reds are to be regain their numbers in our area, hence if you do see one, please report using the hotline number above or the sightings form on this site. Also, please continue to report sightings of reds, particularly in areas where none were reported in the survey.

Squirrel Survey
(Posted 17 November 2011)


Last years cold winter and the recent outbreak of squirrel pox have almost certainly had an effect on Ponteland's red population. In order to get some idea as to the numbers in Ponteland and its surrounding area, we would like you to report all sightings over a two week period starting on 20 November. For each sighting, we would like you to tell us the number, the location and the condition (healthy or unhealthy). If possible, please submit repeat sightings during the period. You can use the sightings form on this site (click here), email the details to Sally at sally@pontelandredsquirrels.co.uk or ring the hotline number above.

We would also like you to continue to report all grey sightings, however, for these, please use the hotline number above whenever possible.

Newsletter Issue 13 Published
(Posted 22 September 2011)


The latest Newsletter is now available to view on-line, click here to access. You will need Adobe Acrobat to view which is now present on most computers. If you don't have this program, you can visit the Northern Red Squirrels site which has a link to the download facility.

Waitrose Presents Cheque for 496 to PRS
(24 May 2011)

Waitrose has very kindly donated a cheque for 496 to Ponteland Red Squirrels from its excellent Community Matters initiative. PRS would like to express their thanks to Waitrose for this second very generous donation which will be used to further its efforts in maintaining a healthy red squirrel population in Ponteland and its surrounding areas. This is particularly important this year as the squirrel pox virus and the hard winter appear to have reduced our red squirrel population. PRS would also like to thank all those Waitrose customers who voted for PRS with their green counters. It’s good to know that our residents and local businesses support our efforts to make Ponteland a safe haven for red squirrels

Threat to Ponteland's Reds Increases in 2010
(13 February 2011)

GREY squirrel sightings have reached record levels in Ponteland, but the fight goes on to save the native reds.
The number of grey sightings around Ponteland and Darras Hall has trebled in the past year, with more than 40 spotted in 2010 compared with an average of between 8 and 14 in previous years
The situation was the subject of a recent article in the Morpeth Herald; click
here to display.

Newsletter Issue 12 Published
(Posted 22 December 2010)


The latest Newsletter is now available to view on-line, click here to access. You will need Adobe Acrobat to view which is now present on most computers. If you don't have this program, you can visit the Northern Red Squirrels site which has a link to the download facility.

Red Squirrels North England
(14 November 2010)
A new initiative has been launched which is the biggest push yet to ensure red squirrels survive in the North of England. Red Squirrels North England (RSNE) will be a five-year project backed by a total of more than 3m in funding. Work on preparing the new strategy and approach has been going on for the last six months by a partnership of bodies including Natural England, the Forestry Commission, The Wildlife Trusts and the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, a charity set up two years ago and whose patron is Prince Charles. More detail can be found in an article in the Journal; click here to view.

Squirrel Pox Virus Found in Darras
(Posted 31 October 2010)


This year has seen more grey squirrels than usual coming into Ponteland, Darras Hall and the surrounding villages. As has been highlighted many times, most greys carry the squirrel pox virus which has very little effect on them but which is deadly to reds. For the first time, the influx has resulted in the virus spreading to our reds and two animals have been found dead with the disease, the first in Burnside and the second close by.
The significance of this development cannot be understated. Red squirrel populations have been wiped out in similar circumstances in neighbouring villages.
Hopefully, the virus can be contained, however, we would ask for everyone's co-operation in helping to prevent the disease from spreading. Please call the above hotline number as soon as possible if you see a grey squirrel or a red squirrel, dead or alive, that has squirrel pox. Infected animals should be relatively easy to recognise as they are likely to have skin ulcers, lesions, and scabs. The virus can also cause swelling and discharge (from the lesions/scabs) near the eyes, mouth, feet, and genitalia. Additionally, squirrels that fall victim to the disease often become lethargic. Infected animals are said to resemble rabbits with myxomatosis, in that they are sometimes found shivering and lethargic. Death normally follows and is a relatively long and painful experience.
The
NRS website has more detail and includes pictures of infected squirrels. Please be aware that the pictures are not a pretty sight.


You Tube Video of Local Squirrel
(Posted 26 April 2010)


One of our supporters has added a video of a red squirrel in his garden in Willow Way to You Tube. A link is available on the Gallery 3 page which can be found via the Picture Gallery link above. You can also see it by clicking here.

Instructions for Making a Squirrel Feeder and a Nestbox
(13 March 2010)

A number of people have asked about making feeders and nestboxes. Instructions on how to do so have been added to the About Red Squirrels page.

Waitrose Presents Cheque for 500 to PRS
(1 March 2010)

Waitrose has very kindly donated a cheque for 500 to Ponteland Red Squirrels from its excellent Community Matters initiative. This was recently presented by Rob Brewis, the manager of the Ponteland store, to Sally, Penny and Margaret of PRS. PRS would like to express their thanks to Waitrose for this very generous donation which will be used to further its efforts in maintaining a healthy red squirrel population in Ponteland and its surrounding areas. PRS would also like to thank all those Waitrose customers who voted for PRS with their green counters. It’s good to know that our residents and local businesses support our efforts to make Ponteland a safe haven for red squirrels.

Waitrose Community Matters Initiative Donates 500 to PRS
(13 December 2009)

Ponteland Red Squirrels would like to express their thanks to Waitrose for their very generous donation. This will be used to further our efforts in maintaining a healthy red squirrel population in Ponteland and its surrounding areas. PRS would also like to thank all those Waitrose customers who voted for PRS with their green counters.

Red Squirrel Survival Trust Official Launch
(Posted 5 April 2009)


Prince Charles officially launched the Red Squirrel Survival Trust on 3 April during a trip to Levens Hall near Kendal. This is detailed in the Hexham Courant. The Daily Telegraph also includes an article on the Prince's reasons for supporting the work of the RSST.

Sightings Report Form Added to Site
(Posted 18 October2008)


A form has been added to the site to enable you to easily report your sightings of red squirrels. This will enable us to build a map of sightings in Ponteland and its surrounding areas and will contribute to the more extensive Save our Squirrels map.

Can you spare a little time?

Could you deliver a few quarterly newletters to residents on roads near to where you live? If so, please contact us (pontelandredsquirrels@yahoo.co.uk).

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