The Belmont - Shanklin, Isle of Wight

Hidden Gems

On these pages we will tell you about places less well known on the Island, and some more unusual places to visit. There will be some photo's and you will only be told where they are taken when you stay with us.

Red Squirrels

On the Isle of Wight only Red Squirrels are present. The Isle of Wights woodland can provide habitat for around 3,500 squirrels. Numbers fluctuate annually depending on the success or failure of the seed crop. 

The Isle of Wight is one of the best and only places in England to see Red Squirrels in their natural habitat. 

Luckily the Solent has acted as an effective barrier to the introduction of the Grey Squirrel to the Island, and thus the Red Squirrel survives undisturbed.

 Red Squirrels are able to live in a wide range of forest types but they prefer conifer because they can forage more efficiently. They measure around 35 to 40cm from nose to tail, weighing only 350g

Red squirrels produce litters of three to four kittens a year. They do not hibernate, but will stay in their dreys during bad weather – although they have to come out to feed. Important food sources are hazelnuts and seeds from native Scots pine.

They supplement these with nuts from other trees such as beech and sweet chestnut, and with berries and, occasionally, fungi and insects. The red squirrel’s life expectancy is six years but only about one in six survives to adulthood. Cars, cats and dogs but also foxes, weasels and larger birds, especially buzzards, spell danger.

Where to spot red squirrels on the island
Borthwood Copse
 is one of the best places, although they're shy and easily disturbed by noise. They can be seen in the woodland around Newtown, across theMottistone Estate and in the Forestry Commission’s Parkhurst Forest – and in many other parts of the Island.


A really lovely stay with very good hosts. Thanks... - Marion & John, Spain