By far, one of the best places to see adorable red squirrels in Yorkshire is along the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail. In this guide, we’re going to tell you all about the Red Squirrel Trail in Snaizeholme, which is located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Read about the best things to do in the Yorkshire Dales (coming soon).
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Where To See Red Squirrels In Yorkshire
Also known as the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Sanctuary, the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Reserve and the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Enclosure, the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail is a great route to follow to see red squirrels. When it comes to Yorkshire red squirrel sightings, Snaizeholme is certainly a hotspot.
And, no, we’re definitely not talking about the pesky North American grey squirrels. We’re talking about red squirrels, which are a native species to the UK. Unfortunately, grey squirrels were introduced to the UK in the early 1800s and have since been a threat to red squirrels.
This is because grey squirrels carry and transmit squirrel pox, which they’re relatively immune to but is deadly to red squirrels. Whilst, grey squirrels are a bit more dominant, taking most of the food source in any given area. When there is a food shortage, red squirrels can’t thrive and don’t reproduce as much.
Sadly, cute red squirrels are now endangered. Currently, there are around 3 million grey squirrels in the UK, whilst there are only around 140,000 red squirrels left. And, the far majority of the red squirrels are in Scotland. Unfortunately, there are only around 15,000 red squirrels left in England. Luckily, Yorkshire is one of the best places in England where you can still see red squirrels.
Working alongside each other, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and local landowners have created the remarkable Red Squirrel Viewing Area at Snaizeholme. Indeed, if you want to see red squirrels in the Yorkshire Dales, you’ll want to head to Snaizeholme.
FYI – the Yorkshire Arboretum is another decent place to see red squirrels in Yorkshire.
Where Is the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail?
The Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail is located in Wensleydale in North Yorkshire. As mentioned, the trail falls inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park. To help you get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map of the area on Google Maps.
Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail: Details
Here are the trail specs for the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail in the Yorkshire Dales.
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 3.1km (1.9 miles)
- Time: 45–60 minutes
- Accumulated elevation gain: 55m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Mirk Pot Farm
- GPS-Guided Map: Wikiloc
Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail: Description
In this trail description, we’re going to tell you all about the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail in the Yorkshire Dales.
After parking at Mirk Pot Farm, you’ll follow a signposted trail, that passes several farmhouses. You’ll soon approach woodlands, where you may be lucky enough to catch your first glimpse of red squirrels. Personally, we saw two little red squirrels scurrying up and down trees as we entered the woodlands. You’ll then follow a well-defined trail, heading deeper into the woods.
Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Viewing Area
Soon enough, you’ll reach the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Viewing Area. At the viewing area, you’ll see an information board, which has tonnes of interesting Yorkshire red squirrel facts. You’ll also notice a feeder in a woodland clearing. This is the main reason red squirrels are in this area – they’ll head to the feeder for a bit of food!
Once you arrive, you’ll have to patiently wait for the red squirrels to pass or approach the feeder. Other than keeping a lookout, make sure to actively listen as you may hear the red squirrels without seeing them. Of course, you’ll hear plenty of birds around, so it’s challenging to hear the little red squirrels.
Personally, Beck and I spent around an hour at the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Viewing Area and saw nearly a dozen red squirrels! It was an unforgettable experience seeing these beautiful animals in the wild.
After seeing plenty of red squirrels, you have two options. If your sole intention is to visit the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Viewing Area, you can simply retrace your steps back to Mirk Pot Farm. Otherwise, feel free to continue around the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail. Along the way, whilst still in the woodlands, you’ll likely see more red squirrels.
But, once you return via Snaizeholme Road, you’ll be beside the woods and less likely to see any red squirrels. Instead, you’ll enjoy nice views of the Wensleydale countryside. Eventually, you’ll arrive back at Mirk Pot Form.
How to Get There
To visit the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail in Yorkshire, you have two options. The most convenient way to get to Snaizeholme is to drive there yourself. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, then we recommend hiring a car using DiscoverCars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Discover Cars for very reasonable prices. Also, the website is user-friendly and booking online is super easy. Have a look at car hire from Manchester.
But, be aware that there is limited parking at the Mirk Pot Farm. There is really only enough space for two vehicles. In fact, you’ll have to pre-book a space by calling the Hawes National Park Centre (01969 666 210). Upon arrival, you’ll head to the Mirk Pot Farm House and pay £5 for parking. Please let us know in the comments if the contact number or parking details have changed.
Little White Bus
The other option is to take the Little White Bus from the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes (guide coming soon) to the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail. Because of the limited parking, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has set up this daily return shuttle bus service.
So, you could drive to Hawes and park at the large car park at the Dales Countryside Museum and then catch the return bus. Head to the Little White Bus website for the latest information about booking, pricing and departure times. It’s actually possible to pre-book the service online.
Although it’s possible to use public transport to get to Hawes, we don’t recommend it as services are quite infrequent. Also, depending on where you’re travelling from in the UK, you’ll likely have a slow and tedious journey. If public transport is your only option, we recommend using Google Maps, Trainline and Dales Bus to plan your journey.
Where to Stay
There is no accommodation in Snaizeholme itself. The largest village near Snaizeholme with the most accommodation options is Hawes. Certainly, Hawes, in the Yorkshire Dales, is a great base for which to visit Snaizeholme and explore red squirrels! Thankfully, Hawes has plenty of excellent accommodation options. Below, we’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation options in Hawes.
Budget Hawes Accommodation
- YHA Hawes: by far, the most budget-friendly accommodation in Hawes is the YHA Hawes. If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to book an affordable shared dorm at YHA Hawes.
- The Fountain Hotel: if you’re on a budget but want a private room, you’ll find The Fountain Hotel is the most affordable hotel in Hawes.
Mid-Range Hawes Accommodation
- Cocketts Hotel: this is one of the best value-for-money hotels in Hawes. Indeed, Cocketts Hotel is one of the most popular places to stay in the area because of this.
- The White Hart Inn: the well-known country inn is another popular place to stay in Hawes. It’s located right in the heart of town and features superb decor.
Luxury Hawes Accommodation
- Simonstone Hall Hotel: the highly-rated four-star hotel was formerly a shooting lodge and is located just on the outskirts of Hawes. Because of the slightly removed location, you’ll enjoy a quiet and remote ambience in the Dales countryside.
- Stone House Hotel: this four-star hotel is a classic Edwardian country house that was built in 1908. Similar to Simonstone Hall Hotel, Stone House Hotel is located just outside of the village, so it enjoys a superb peaceful setting.
What to Wear and Take
These are our gear essentials for doing the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail in the Yorkshire Dales.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail in Yorkshire.
Are There Any Red Squirrels in Yorkshire?
Yes – despite the declining number of red squirrels in England, it’s still possible to see them in Yorkshire.
Where Can I See Red Squirrels in Yorkshire?
The Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail is one of the best places to see red squirrels in Yorkshire. Otherwise, there are red squirrels in other reserve woodlands around Dent and Sedbergh. Also, you can see red squirrels at the Yorkshire Arboretum.
Are Red Squirrels Friendly?
Yes, they’re friendly, cute and inquisitive.
Why Are Red Squirrels Becoming Extinct?
In addition to habitat destruction, roadkill and predators (mainly birds of prey), red squirrels are becoming extinct because of diseases spread by, and, competition from, grey squirrels, respectively.
What Is the Future For Red Squirrels?
Certainly, without help, red squirrels are under imminent threat of extinction. Thankfully, there are several conservation groups and projects across England, trying to protect and save red squirrels.
- Formby Red Squirrel Walk: another well-known red squirrel trail is the one in Formby in Lancashire. Indeed, if you want to explore other red squirrels, the Formby Red Squirrel Walk isn’t too far from Yorkshire.
- Best time to visit: generally speaking, red squirrels are less active in winter. So, it may be best to visit during the other seasons. On top of that, it’s best to visit at dawn or dusk. Personally, Beck and I visited early at around 8am and enjoyed the trail to ourselves. So, the noise was minimal and there were plenty of red squirrels to see!
- Keep noise to a minimum: you don’t want to spook the red squirrels! Make sure to keep noise to a minimum.
- There are no guarantees: of course, even by visiting at the recommended time of day and year, and keeping quiet, there is no guarantee you’ll see red squirrels. That’s just the name of the game.
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