Safe ‘corridor’ for Ellon’s red squirrels

Volunteers plant trees at Balmacassie to help the local red squirrel population.
Volunteers plant trees at Balmacassie to help the local red squirrel population.

A new effort is under way to help Ellon’s red squirrel population.

Two hundred Scots pine trees have recently been planted at Balmacassie Community Woodland.

The squirrels will have a safe ‘corridor’ from one block of trees to the other

Bob Davis Ythan Biodiversity Volunteers

The project has involved the Ythan Biodiversity Volunteers with support from workers at nearby Ellon Can-Do and Benchmark.

When the community woodland was planted several years ago, a large block of Scots pine was included in the mix of native species.

In a strip alongside the Ellon bypass and near the industrial estate, the trees are now producing cones which are a valuable food source for the red squirrel.

Ythan Biodiversity Volunteers spokesman Bob Davis said: “Red squirrels are regular visitors to the woodland around the Castle Park estate.

“However the woodland at Castle Park ends short of the Scots pine by a hundred metres or so.

“Such a short distance may not appear as significant to us, but to a small squirrel it is a long way, across open ground devoid of tree cover where there is a serious risk of getting pounced on by a predator.”

He added: “We came up with an idea to plant more Scots pine in the open area between the Castle Park woodland and the existing Scots pine at Balmacassie.

“Once the newly-planted trees have grown sufficiently, the squirrels will have a safe ‘corridor’ from one block of trees to the other...their very own branch line.”

The trees were supplied by Aberdeenshire Council, who have supported a number of efforts to help the town’s red squirrel population.

The council also carry out the maintenance of paths throughout Balmacassie woodland - a popular local walking area.