Hunting the red squirrel...

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Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,476
5
Europe
...With a camera lens.

Number 11 on my [thread=136432]Sixteen skills in 2016[/thread] is to track and see a Red Squirrel in the wild.

Googling suggests that the closest wild population[1] to me here in Canterbury, is the Isle of Wight. With the next nearest being Brownsea Island (Dorset), then Anglesey.

So my thinking is a few days camping on the Isle of Wight with days spent with my big lens in the woods. With a back up plan of a day or two on Brownsea Island if I fail on the Isle of Wight.

With this in mind, can anyone recommend simple campsites on the Isle of Wight? Don't need anything fancy, Field + tap + loo is enough. Probably thinking the eastern end of the island (I want to visit Borthwood Copse). Bonus points if they allow fire, or at least a fire box?

Cheers

J

[1]Values of wildness are open to debate for anything in the UK really.
 

decorum

Full Member
May 2, 2007
5,064
10
Warwickshire
Can't help with the Isle of Wight but they're definitely on Brownsea.

Due to the nature of the ground on Brownsea you can't have open fires and I think* the folk who own/run the island are also quite restrictive on stove/fuel type. You'd need to enquire :)

* I could be wrong.
 

lou1661

Full Member
Jul 18, 2004
1,984
66
Hampshire
If you are heading to Brownsea Island, don't forget all the campsite near Swanage are only a ferry ride and a short cycle away.
 

Jackdaw

Full Member
No need for the long lens on the IOW. Ventnor Botanical Gardens has quite a few. I sat with the 7 yr old for about 20 minutes watching a family group chase themselves around. Very nice and the first I've seen in the UK. The only other one I've seen was at around 2000m on a chair lift in Val d'Isere.
 

DogRose

Forager
Apr 19, 2015
131
0
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a great place to see Red Squirrels, if you went looking you'd be really unlucky not to see one.
Borthwood Copse is a good spot, as is Parkhurst Forest, Brighstone Forest and Firestone Copse but you're just as likely to see one in a park or garden, or one of the many small copses dotted around the island, sometimes very close to houses/buildings.
We even have our own Red Squirrel conservation group that has a website with a bit of info http://www.wightsquirrels.co.uk/
As for camping, I've only ever camped at a couple of sites on the east of the island (as we tend to camp out West;)) one of which is a park resorts site, so I'll leave that one out. Here are a few that I would recommend:

-Carpenters Farm, St. Helens- East wight. A nice simple, quiet site. Close to some woodland where squirrels are seen. Cheap.
-Chine Farm, Atherfield- South West coast, simple site close to unspoilt beach. Cheap.
-Grange Farm, Brighstone Bay- South West coast, another simple site very close to beach. Close to Brighstone village(shop/pub)
-Compton Farm, Brook- South West coast, simple site tucked away on the downs, close to the beach. Cheap

You'd have to check about fires, we use a fire pit and tend to be ok, but I can't remember if any of those listed are no-goers.
If you have transport (public transport is not great) nowhere is too far away on the island so that's why I've included the sites out west.
Give me a shout if you need any more info.
 

Bob

Forager
Sep 11, 2003
199
2
Dorset
If you do visit Brownsea at any time bear in mind that you can't camp there overnight. On the plus side - you'd be unlucky not to see any reds if you go in the autumn as they are usually all over the place!

Bob:)
 

Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,476
5
Europe
The Isle of Wight is a great place to see Red Squirrels, if you went looking you'd be really unlucky not to see one.
Borthwood Copse is a good spot, as is Parkhurst Forest, Brighstone Forest and Firestone Copse but you're just as likely to see one in a park or garden, or one of the many small copses dotted around the island, sometimes very close to houses/buildings.
We even have our own Red Squirrel conservation group that has a website with a bit of info http://www.wightsquirrels.co.uk/
That gives me some hope. Is there any best time to see them in summer? I'm thinking mid June to fit it in around other trips?

As for camping, I've only ever camped at a couple of sites on the east of the island (as we tend to camp out West;)) one of which is a park resorts site, so I'll leave that one out. Here are a few that I would recommend:

-Carpenters Farm, St. Helens- East wight. A nice simple, quiet site. Close to some woodland where squirrels are seen. Cheap.
-Chine Farm, Atherfield- South West coast, simple site close to unspoilt beach. Cheap.
-Grange Farm, Brighstone Bay- South West coast, another simple site very close to beach. Close to Brighstone village(shop/pub)
-Compton Farm, Brook- South West coast, simple site tucked away on the downs, close to the beach. Cheap

You'd have to check about fires, we use a fire pit and tend to be ok, but I can't remember if any of those listed are no-goers.
If you have transport (public transport is not great) nowhere is too far away on the island so that's why I've included the sites out west.
Give me a shout if you need any more info.
Excellent info. I'm planning on taking the Hover craft (who wouldn't!), and so can't bring any camping gas for my stove. Do you know where I can find threaded Gas cartridges on the Island?

Do reds taste similar to greys? I presume they must do....
I honestly don't know, but in the UK it would be a criminal offence to eat one in the UK.

J
 

beachlover

Full Member
Aug 28, 2004
2,303
143
Isle of Wight
I've just seen this. I am on the Island in East Wight - Bembridge.
Parkhurst Forest and Borthwood are are both good for red squirrels and there are plenty of other places. I have friends who occasionally allow camping near Borthwood depending on when you want to visit.
I'd also second the campsites already recommended as well as Stoats Farm in Totland, a bit out of your way for Parkhurst and Borthwood, but some lovely walking and views in West Wight as well as not that far from Brighstone Forest. There is also scope for wild camping on some beaches.

If you want any help feel free to drop me a PM.

By the way, don't sweat it over little gas carriages in your rucksack as no-one ever checks and I recently brought a full diving cylinder over on the passenger ferry in a rucksack!
 
Dec 10, 2015
8
0
Oman
That gives me some hope. Is there any best time to see them in summer? I'm thinking mid June to fit it in around other trips?



Excellent info. I'm planning on taking the Hover craft (who wouldn't!), and so can't bring any camping gas for my stove. Do you know where I can find threaded Gas cartridges on the Island?



I honestly don't know, but in the UK it would be a criminal offence to eat one in the UK.

J
I was joking, just to clear that one up.

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk
 

DogRose

Forager
Apr 19, 2015
131
0
Isle of Wight
That gives me some hope. Is there any best time to see them in summer? I'm thinking mid June to fit it in around other trips?
I'm no expert but I know they feed on different species at different times of the year, so it will have a bearing on where they are active. In the early summer they will be feeding mainly in the pine forests. Dawn and dusk are the most active times for feeding.
The Isle of Wight festival is on from the 9th-12th June so I'd avoid that period (and a good few days before and after) if I were you, as it's generally chaos, the crossings are more expensive and all the campsites are full. Other dates I would avoid if possible are the school holidays and bank holidays for the same reason.
Excellent info. I'm planning on taking the Hover craft (who wouldn't!), and so can't bring any camping gas for my stove. Do you know where I can find threaded Gas cartridges on the Island?
I would bring them with you if I were you, just to save the hassle, although I think the halfords store in Newport sells the coleman screw on canisters.