Squirrel Rope Bridges in Cowal
Cowal Red Squirrel Group and Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels are unable to fund rope bridges or arrange for their erection. However the following guidance notes taken from ‘Save Our Squirrels- a Red Alert North East England Project- c/o Northumberland Wildlife Trust’ may be of help to those wishing to pursue these themselves
Red squirrel road deaths and rope bridges
Red squirrels will come to ground when foraging for food, dispersing, or looking for a mate. Unfortunately they do not have road sense and many are killed each year on the roads. It is important that squirrel feeders are not located in a position that will entice squirrels from woodland, across a road.
Rope bridges have been used in some parts of the country with varying success.
Watch the red squirrels to find where they usually cross the road, and ascertain where they are most at risk. Look for a suitable site for a rope bridge as close to this location as possible. This would ideally be between mature and healthy trees close to the roadsides.
Before you erect a bridge you will need to:
- Contact your Local Authority regarding permission to erect the bridge. It is likely that they will need to see a location plan of the proposed bridge, and may have a minimum height requirement.
- Ensure that the bridge is covered by public liability insurance.
- Contact the police and other relevant authorities prior to erecting the bridge as traffic flow may need to be suspended as the bridge is erected.
Rope bridge design
Three-quarter to 1.5 inch diameter rope (manilla, hawser, hemp, polypropylene and hempex are all suitable) is used for to form the main span. Two such ropes are placed parallel 3 – 6 inches apart. Mesh (1 inch square plastic or galvanised metal) or a zig-zag of narrow-gauge rope is attached between the two parallel ropes along their full length using plastic zip-ties.
This allows more than one squirrel to use the bridge at a time and reduces possible conflict.
Mesh Bridge Rope Ladder Bridge
Once erected, feeders should be installed and regularly replenished on the trees at either end of the bridge to encourage squirrels to use it. Hair tubes can also be used at the ends of the bridge to identify whether the bridge is being effectively used by squirrels.
Current Suppliers of Squirrel Rope Bridges
The Ropeworks (Supply materials and ready-made bridges)
2 Market Place Industrial Estate,
Houghton Le Spring,
For further information regarding Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels please visit www.scottishsquirrels.org.uk