Clocaenog Forest is well known as a place for walking the dog or having family picnics but it’s also an important habitat for one of Britain’s most endangered species, the red squirrel.
I visited the forest in 2017 when I met Becky Clews-Roberts, the Red Squirrel Ranger. I learned how Red Squirrels Trust Wales was working with volunteers to encourage the growth of the native red squirrel population. At the time there was a small population of red squirrels in the forest and the plan was to bring in more red squirrels to boost the numbers. Well, I am pleased to say things have moved on since then. A new local charity Clocaenog Red squirrels Trust (CRST) has now been set up to focus on Clocaenog Forest. The trust is run entirely by volunteers and works closely with Natural Resources Wales. Their new website has loads of information about the project and about how you can get involved. Volunteers are needed to check cameras, build enclosures, maintain equipment, man stalls at events and for many other tasks. Being a CRST volunteer is a great way to get out into the forest, meet new people and make a difference. No special skills are needed and training is provided.
There are estimated to be about fifty red squirrels now in Clocaenog Forest and you might be lucky enough to spot one if you are there. A couple out walking reported seeing a red squirrel in the last few weeks.
CRST currently has around 50 cameras set up around the forest and eleven of these are checked weekly by the volunteers. The others are checked less often. Some interesting things apart from red squirrels occasionally show up on these cameras including pine martens and goshawks. All these amazing photos were taken by volunteers in Clocaenog either from the hide or from the trail camera. I’d like to thank Marilyn Jeffery for her time, updating me with the latest developments, as you can see a lot has changed in three years.
If you are interested in protecting this iconic species, you can help by: