A FURTHER sighting of red squirrels in Wensleydale seems to confirm a steady move eastwards.

Back in August, Low Mill Guest House in Bainbridge reported a rare sighting of a red squirrel. After a squirrel guest house was built for the visitor in the garden, it paid dividends with a return visit. Following that, a week later and nine miles further east, the Old Vicarage B&B in West Witton reported a similar red squirrel sighting.

Now the mini-migration eastwards has continued, as there has been several sightings in the village of Preston under Scar.

Resident Andrew Fletcher managed to take a photograph of one in his neighbour’s garden this week.

He said: “We have seen red squirrels here before, but this was the first time I have managed to photograph one.”

Although red squirrel populations remain healthy in mainland Europe, their numbers are currently in major decline here in the UK. From a previous high of approximately 3.5 million their current population is estimated at 138,000. Of that, only 15,000 reside in England – most inhabit Scotland.

Conversely there could be as many as 2.5 million grey squirrels in the UK and with no current method of comprehensively surveying them this figure could be an underestimation.

Conservation partnership, Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE), works across northern England monitoring the activities of these threatened creatures. Sightings can be reported via their website and it has a handy map showing sightings across the UK. There is also information on locations where it is possible to see these attractive creatures.