The Mayfields smallholding at Themelthorpe, in Norfolk is home to the CRT’s red squirrel breeding programme. Officially launched in January 2012 by David Stapleford, the enclosures required some refurbishing and CRT staff were delighted to be given the opportunity to be involved and help with this fantastic project.
The enclosure itself is built around the trunks of two hedgerow oak trees and connected by an overhead tunnel. Home to Widgeon (the female) and Briar (the male), the red squirrel breeding programme aims to breed healthy disease-free young red squirrels suitable for release, as well as being an exciting part of our education programme at Mayfields.
The CRT staff arrived mid-morning on the 6th March with plenty of enthusiasm and hammers! The plan being to build a brand new wooden canopy for the squirrels. In addition, Widgeon had once again built her nest in an unsuitable location and so a nest box had to be constructed around it to ensure any potential kittens wouldn’t fall out!
The staff with the aid of Mayfields tenants Sarah and Megan and volunteer Kath Perry, soon got to work sawing, hammering and binding wooden branches as well as hollow pipes around the enclosure to provide a suitable habitat for our reds. A stable and interesting canopy is very important as red squirrels spend 70% of their time in the tree canopy, coming down to the ground only to find food.
Once the work was complete the reds were released and although initially wary of the changes, they soon seemed keen to try everything out and we very much hope that the nest will soon be put to good use with lots of red squirrel kittens!
If you would like to support this project, why not consider adopting our pair of red squirrels at Mayfields. For £20 a year, you will receive updates, photos, a certificate and invitations to meet them. For more info visit http://www.CountrysideRestorationTrust.com/adoptions1.php