It is a scorching day at Escot and we are entering the Red Squirrel enclosure for the second time today. Our first attempt to see the squirrels ended in failure, with not a creature stirring amongst the trees.
So, we explored the wetlands, got lost in the Beech maze, played in the pirate ship, had a lolly, visited the Wild Boar and the birds of prey and had a great time, but we were determined not to leave without seeing the stars of the show.
We are not disappointed again. This time, there is a Red Squirrel on the feeder and as we pause to watch, it leaps onto the handrail of the walkway and runs along it towards us. It is just about to scamper over my hands when I pull them out of the way, giving it a clear run. It is not only Izzy that is thrilled. I have never seen one of these beautiful, graceful little creatures before, either. It is much more delicate than its more familiar grey cousin, with bright red fur and quivering ear tufts that glow in the summer sun.
Another squirrel shins up a tree and leaps from branch to branch over our heads, whilst the first one potters about on the ground, under a Blackberrybush. Eventually, both of them move deeper into the undergrowth and out of sight.
Access to the Red Squirrel Walk Through Enclosure (and some other parts of Escot) is free, but there is an admission fee for the other attractions. See the website for further details.
Other places to see Red Squirrels
- Whinlatter Forest Park, Keswick
- Woodhorn Museum, Ashrington
- Howick Hall Gardens and Arboretum, Northumberland
- Brownsea Island, Dorset
- Plas Newydd, Anglesey
- Borthwood Copse, Isle of Wight
- Cannock Chase, Staffordshire
- Culbokie Wood, Highlands
- Hiraethog Forest, Denbeighshire