North Norfolk-bred baby squirrels set for cross-country adventure in the hope of establishing new wild colony

PUBLISHED: 08:52 14 October 2016

Pensthorpe red squirrels prepare for their move west

Pensthorpe red squirrels prepare for their move west


Two red squirrel kittens which were born at Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, earlier this year are setting out bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on an adventure to the Welsh valleys.

Fire and Flame are being resettled in Wales in the hopes of establishing a new wild colony.

The duo was bred by members of the East Anglian Red Squirrel Group (EARSG) at Pensthorpe, Weybourne and Themelthorpe and have been selected for a pioneering task force.

Ten north Norfolk-bred kittens in total will be transported in specially-made squirrel boxes to the Ogwen Valley, near Bangor.

Three others are destined for the breeding programme at the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey.

The project is aiming to combat the 100-year decline in the UK’s red squirrel population.

As Britain’s only native squirrel species, the red squirrels are a staple of the English landscape.

EARSG co-ordinator Chrissie Kelley, Head of Species Management at Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, is working to ensure the move is as seamless as possible.

“This is huge for us. It’s the best possible outcome for a captive breeding programme. We will also be welcoming three males from the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey to Pensthorpe so we can get as much variation into the blood lines as possible,” she said.

“Red squirrels only survive in a handful of locations in the UK,” said Ms Kelley. “We are proud that Pensthorpe is one of those refuges. We have had pairs breeding successfully here since 1996.”

Other news

17 minutes ago

A housing summit has been held at Gressenhall Farm to tackle the issue of a lack of affordable homes in rural communities.

Not many charities can persuade their fundraisers to walk 15 miles with a fridge on their back.

A famous Norfolk photographer’s grave has been rededicated, after a successful crowdfunding campaign to restore it.


Every year, the clocks go back in October when British Summer Time ends.

Most Read

Yesterday, 12:32

A poppy shop is set to open in Fakenham at the end of October, coinciding with the launch of the annual poppy appeal.

Read more
George Acheson
Yesterday, 16:53

There are new faces behind the bar at The Bull in Fakenham.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:18

These are the 13 criminals Norfolk Constabulary is currently appealing for help to trace in the county with crimes ranging from sexual assault to attempted murder.

Read more
Norwich Crown Court

After laying derelict for more than a decade, an RAF base in north Norfolk is now a growing business hub. BETHANY WHYMARK went to meet some of its tenants.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:16

Two more North Norfolk district councillors have quit the Conservative group, in the latest of a string of similar resignations.

Read more
Tom FitzPatrick

Local Weather



max temp: 13°C

min temp: 13°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Fakenham and Wells Times e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter