A rope bridge placed over a busy road is helping to keep squirrels out of danger from cars.

The bridge was a project of a local voluntary conservation group, Cramlington & District Red Squirrel Group, based in Northumberland.

The group fundraised around £750 to build the rope bridge that would connect two areas home to the native red squirrel.

It was designed to be a safe route of travel for red squirrels between Seghill woods and East Cramlington Nature Reserve, which are separated by a large road.

In 2018, there were nine confirmed and four unconfirmed deaths of the endangered red squirrel on the road between the two woodland areas.

However, since the rope bridge was installed just over a year ago, there has been just one unconfirmed death.

The squirrels regularly cross between the two areas to collect hazelnuts.

In a post on their Facebook page, Cramlington & District Red Squirrel Group said: “It’s been a huge success in its first year and hopefully for many more years to follow. Reducing the number of red squirrel deaths significantly.”

Leon Savage, the group’s chairman, told The Independent: “It’s fantastic we can protect the red squirrels from danger, and it’s also great for community engagement.”

According to The Wildlife Trusts, the UK native red squirrels have been around for approximately 10,000 years.

There are believed to be approximately 140,000 red squirrels in the wild, though their numbers are threatened by the invasive North American grey squirrel as they outcompete the native species.

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