Return of the Red Squirrel

Return of the Red Squirrel: Freshfield windswept trees

I’ve been visiting the red squirrels of Freshfield for thirty years. Freshfield is owned by the National Trust, who manage the red squirrel habitat. It’s always good to know that they have a place where they can live well and prosper. So, it was unsettling to hear that they’d been struck down by pox, six years ago. Their numbers fell dramatically. I’d normally see several in a visit, but one time I saw none at all.

Fluffy white clouds off the Merseyside coast

It’s a long way to go, not to see any squirrels. Fortunately, Freshfield is on the coast, next to miles of lovely beach. It’s not the sort of beach which lends itself to sunbathing, as there is a constant wind all along that coast. It not surprising that there is a wind farm dominating the seaward horizon, off the coast of nearby Liverpool.

Merseyside horizon: wind turbines and ship

So, the best thing to do is wander up and down the sands, looking for interesting objects, like shells or … or more shells. Come to think of it, there isn’t much else to do, apart from maybe build a sandcastle, or fly a kite. It’s not long before I find myself wandering back through the sand dunes, towards the forest, hoping to see a red squirrel. Luckily, this tale has a happy ending. The population is recovering from the epidemic, and numbers are on the increase.

Freshfield red squirrel

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