Surrounded by high mountains and with a lake at the western end the valley is a haven for Red squirrels and is home to between 100 and 150 Red Squirrels.
Red squirrels are an iconic native species but their future is increasingly uncertain as the introduced American grey squirrel expands its range across Cumbria.
Red squirrels build large nests, called dreys, often in the forks of tree trunks. Females can reproduce twice in a year usually having 2 or 3 young which are called kittens.
Where to see
Red squirrels can be seen across Ennerdale's woodlands especially towards the western end of the valley. They are more active in Spring when looking for a mate and in Autumn when they can be seen gathering nuts and burying them across the forest floor.
Look out for conifer cones which have been stripped of scales and seed which indicate that squirrels are using the area.
Each Spring and Autumn we monitor our Red Squirrel population and trap Grey Squirrels. To reduce our use of trapping and increase the area we can monitor we use trail cameras to monitor wide areas of the forest and only move to use trapping in response to a camera recording a grey squirrel. In Autumn 2015 we caught 4 Grey Squirrels this way reducing our use of trapping by 85%. In addition we have planted 1000's of native birch and oak trees to ensure our Red squirrels have woodlands to enjoy into the future.
We work closely with the Ennerdale Community Red Squirrel Group and Ennerdale and Kinnisde Parish Council who patrol the valleys western buffer zone keeping Grey Squirrels from reaching the valley. We also are very grateful to the European Outdoor Conservation Association and Original Buff, S.A (Spain) who funded our Squirrel conservation work from 2011 to 2013.