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Deer & Grey Squirrels

Fallow Deer


All species of deer are increasing in number and expanding their range in England and there is currently no obvious reason why this trend should not continue. We currently have three species of wild deer in The National Forest: our native roe deer, fallow deer (which were introduced in the 11th century) and muntjac; an invasive non-native species which has recently become established locally.

Whilst deer have a value, aesthetically, culturally, as a sporting quarry and for their meat, they can also have negative impacts. Within woodlands and commercial forestry, deer may cause damage by browsing on planting or restock sites, may browse lateral shoots of more established trees or may cause damage to stems through bark-stripping or by fraying bark. Deer can also have an impact on ground flora, including bluebells and other rare species which can struggle under intense grazing pressure.

Deer Vehicle Collisions (DVC’s) are another concern in The National Forest. With expanding populations of both people and deer it is likely that accidents may occur within the Forest. The Deer Initiative estimate that there are over 74,000 DVC’s every year in the UK.

Grey Squirrels

Damage caused to an Oak tree by grey squirrels in The National Forest

Grey squirrel numbers have increased since being introduced from North America to Great Britain in the late 19th Century. Since its introduction, the grey squirrel has expanded its territory to cover most of mainland Britain and thus displacing the native red squirrel.

Although grey squirrels can have an aesthetic value, they can be particularly damaging to broadleaf woodland aged between 10-40 years old through bark stripping. This age range makes The National Forest prime habitat for grey squirrels, as over the next ten years we will have approximately 2,800 Ha of woodland aged between 15-25 years old.

The creation of The National Forest is increasing the area of suitable habitat at a time of increasing deer and grey squirrel numbers and territorial expansion. The National Forest Company wants to see sustainable deer and grey squirrel populations in the Forest area but recognises that they can be very destructive to trees and other habitats if their numbers are too high.

Effective control of these species can only be achieved through landscape scale management. The National Forest Company is working with local landowners and managers in ‘hot-spot’ areas to manage sustainable populations of both deer and grey squirrels.

For further information please see the related documents opposite or visit:

For information on managing these species in The National Forest please contact Charles Robinson

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Dan Small

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The National Forest Company, Bath Yard, Moira, Swadlincote, Derbyshire

DE12 6BA

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01283 551211

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or contact us