RED squirrels are continuing to thrive in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, a monitoring report has concluded.

There is also anecdotal evidence that the range of the near-threatened may have increased in the Dales in recent years.

Read more: Meet the candidates vying to become North Yorkshire's next crime commissioner

Grey squirrel control undertaken in the National Park’s ‘core area’ for reds – mainly Sedbergh, Garsdale and the Upper Eden valley – is said to have been a ‘crucial’ factor.

The conservation research and monitoring report has been published by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) in partnership with Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE).

It has been produced as a result of the 2011 Local Biodiversity Action Plan, which identified red squirrel as a priority species for conservation within the National Park.

The completion of the ten-year action plan, at the end of last year, has prompted an assessment of the status of priority species and habitats.

Co-author Heinz Traut, project manager at RSNE, said: “The results detailed in our report show that red squirrels have maintained their range in the core areas of the Yorkshire Dales National Park since at least 2012. "

"This is thanks to the dedication and efforts of many local volunteers, land managers and organisations, including YDNPA, which have helped red squirrels to thrive here."

Member for natural environment at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Ian McPherson, said: “There are four red squirrel groups working in the National Park and this monitoring report is a testament to their committed stewardship.

Read more: Aristocrat in charge of Castle Howard for 30-years sexually abused child, jury decides

"For many years now the Penrith and District, Mallerstang, Garsdale and Sedbergh red squirrel groups have been keeping an eye on the native reds and culling the greys, which otherwise would likely take over.

“Given the long-standing work of these local groups in the Cumbria part of the National Park, the National Park Authority has focussed its work in North Yorkshire where no active groups are present.

"We are delighted that red squirrels in places such Langstrothdale and Snaizeholme are doing well.

"However, I would like to echo the authors’ note of caution about the reds’ expansion to places such as mid-Wensleydale: it is not clear if there is sufficient suitable habitat and grey squirrel control for the reds’ to sustain their expanded range.

"More conservation work must be done in the National Park to help red squirrels but for now we can celebrate that populations of this priority species continue to be stable.”


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated North Yorkshire Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054