Amazing photos show red squirrels at play in the Yorkshire Dales

These stunning images show some inquisitive red squirrels at a Yorkshire reserve dedicated to their conservation.

They were taken by Yorkshire Post photographer Tony Johnson at the Snaizeholme viewing area, which is part of the Widdale reserve and trail near Hawes, last week.

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Red squirrels have declined in Britain due to factors associated with the introduction of the grey squirrel, which is native to America. Although the species are not in direct conflict, greys are carriers of a disease called parapoxvirus, which is harmless to them but will kill reds. There are now around 160,000 red squirrels left, the majority of them in Scotland. Populations are also found in the Lake District, Northumberland and the Yorkshire Dales.

A century ago reds were common in woods and plantations throughout all three Ridings of Yorkshire but they were virtually wiped out following the severe winter of 1962-63 and the spread of squirrel pox. The red squirrel’s recovery in the Dales took off when the late Hugh Kemp and his wife Jane encouraged a small colony around their farm, Mirk Pot, 1,200ft up in a remote offshoot of Wensleydale called '¨Snaizeholme.The National Park Authority and local landowners have funded the viewing area, which can be found in a woodland clearing and has a feeder to attract wildlife.