The National Park has spearheaded a campaign to preserve the red squirrel population. Rangers and volunteers have been an important part of the red squirrel conservation programme which is particularly strong around Sedbergh, Dentdale and Hawes. Surveys take place across the Dales in Spring, using cameras to record photos of squirrels feeding at specially positioned feeder boxes. Thanks to much activity and fundraising for the conservation project, the population now seems stable.
Red squirrels camouflage well in the wooded areas so they aren't easy to see but there is a relatively easy way to spot and photograph them in the heart of the Widdale Red Squirrel Reserve, at Snaizeholme where there's a viewing area. Squirrels visit feeders in a woodland clearing so there's a good chance you'll see them there. The Little White Bus runs a service from the Dales Countryside Museum (book in advance) to the Snaizeholme drop off point. After that you can follow a well-marked route to the viewing area.
You may not be a member of the Tufty Club anymore but you can still buy a red squirrel pin badge and make a donation towards red squirrel conservation in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Keen photographers may like to go one step further and book Dales photographer Paul Fowie on a one-one workshop or book England’s only purpose-built Squirrel photography hide located near Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. The main woodland hide can accommodate up to four people and offers a fantastic opportunity to see and photograph squirrels at close range in a natural setting. The hide has been specially designed to enable comfortable photography with windows offering views of perches on three sides. While there you may also spot roe deer and a plethora of woodland birds.