The Glens Red Squirrel Group and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council are excited to announce the opening of the first red squirrel viewing hide in on the North Coast, and only the second in Northern Ireland.
Working in partnership, the Glens Red Squirrel Group and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Councils successfully secured funding from the Department of Environment through their The Challenge Fund, to build a red squirrel viewing hide and create a feeding station to attract red squirrels along with the woodland birds to the hide, to enhance the visitor experience.
The Glens Red Squirrel Group has been working successfully with Katy English, the owner of Cregagh wood, over several years to support the thriving red squirrel population within the woodland. Daniel McAfee, chairman explained, “It has been an aspiration of the group for a few years to build a viewing hide in Cregagh Wood.
“This will create an up close and personal experience with our elusive and rare red squirrels. Part of the improving the fate of our native red squirrels is through education, making people aware of their plight and how we can help them, we are hoping this viewing hide will help achieve this.”
Katy English, entered into a management agreement in 2015 with the Council to open up the wood to visitors and manage it for the wildlife it supports. Katy commented, “This woodland has been in our ownership for many years and has always held a special place in our family, I was delighted to be able to work with the Council to open the site up to the public and its designation as a Local Nature Reserve was a fantastic recognition of it importance.”
Michael McConaghy, Countryside and Coast Officer explained, “This funding has not only enabled us to build an accessible hide that can accommodate a school class group, it allowed us to improve access in some of the muddier parts of the woodland trail and provide bird and bat boxes that were built and put up by volunteers”.
The project has built on works carried out in partnership with the Heart of the Glens Landscape Partnership and the Council in 2015 to install way markers and restore the stone gate pillars at the access points.
Chair of the Leisure & Development Committee and Environmental Services Committee Member, Councillor Margret Anne McKillop added, “This is a brilliant time to come and experience this woodland gem, with the blue bells in full bloom now. I am very pleased that we have this fantastic resource in the Glens.”
Parking is available at St. Patrick’s Church, Glendun Road, Cushendun for the short walking distance to the lower entrance of Cregagh Wood. The trail is also marked through the wood. For further information or to book your visit to the hide, please visit www.glensredsquirrelgroup.com.