WITH their beautiful red coats, red squirrels have lived in the UK and Ireland for around 10,000 years – but now this lovely creature is only found in limited parts of the countryside.

Larger grey squirrels have won the battle for food and habitat to replace their smaller bushy-tailed cousins across most of England and Wales and The Wildlife Trusts movement warns: “Unfortunately, without conservation management, red squirrels could become extinct in England in approximately 10 years. Time is really running out to save our red squirrels.”

Here in Wales, red squirrels have also faced difficulties.

Undated Handout Photo of Sarah-Kay Purdon. Picture credit should read: Alamy/PA.

Sarah-Kay Purdon. Picture credit: Alamy/PA.

Sarah-Kay Purdon, mid-Wales red squirrel officer at The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, says that there are a few “pockets” left where red squirrels can be found, which include Anglesey and the Clocaenog Forest.

A Generic Photo of two red squirrels. See PA Feature TRAVEL Squirrel. Picture credit should read: Alamy/PA.

Red squirrels. Picture credit: Alamy/PA.

The National Trust has a walk at Plas Newydd House and Garden in Anglesey where nature lovers might see red squirrels, as well as breathtaking views of Snowdonia.

Ms Purdon advises that people should look at the tail of a squirrel if they want to know if they have spotted an elusive red one.

She says: “Grey squirrels have a halo effect… where their fur changes colour, whereas red squirrels don’t have that. Their tail tends to be uniform.”

Undated Handout Photo of Katy Bell. See PA Feature TRAVEL Squirrel. Picture credit should read: Ulster Wildlife/PA

Katy Bell. Picture credit: Ulster Wildlife/PA

Katy Bell, senior conservation officer at Ulster Wildlife, says the red squirrels “have faced lots of problems across the UK and Ireland because of the introduction of the grey squirrel, which is a non-native, invasive species”.

She adds: “They’re not having an easy time of it, along with woodland loss and habitat loss as well.”

Red squirrels are still to be found in Europe, in places such as Germany, Poland, Portugal and Croatia, and in Asian countries including China and Korea.

And closer to home, they can still be spotted in pockets of Wales, parts of England, areas of Ireland and many parts of Scotland.

There are several places where red squirrels can still be found in England, according to the National Trust.

Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, a National Trust property in Northumberland that features ornamental and ancient woodland, is a good place to search for red squirrels and visitors should make sure to keep their eyes up and at the trees. Take on the 2.5 mile Allen Banks Morralee Tarn walk, and you may well spot a red squirrel as you head into the woods.

A Generic Photo of a red squirrel. See PA Feature TRAVEL Squirrel. Picture credit should read: Alamy/PA.

A red squirrel. Picture credit: Alamy/PA.

The National Trust have teamed up with Penrith and District Red Squirrel Group to prevent red squirrel levels from dropping further in the area around Aira Force, a 70 foot waterfall in the Lake District. Visitors are advised to don sturdy footwear to take on one of the trails here and also to arrive early in the morning or later in the evening, as the walks will be quieter and the red squirrels and birds are usually more active at these times.

Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight has no grey squirrels (it’s an offence to introduce them there) and boasts a thriving population of around 3,500 red squirrels. Borthwood Copse, where paths wind through ancient oak woods, is one good place to look for them.