Pine martens are an iconic woodland species and, as members of the mustelid family, they are close cousins to otters, badgers and weasels. They are roughly the size of domestic cats, with red-brown fur and a distinctive yellow ‘bib’ marking on their throats. Though they are thriving in Scotland, pine martens are in danger of extinction in England and Wales and are one of the rarest native mammals in Great Britain.
Public knowledge of pine martens is limited; in fact when we mention the pine marten to most of our guests they immediately think it is a bird, related perhaps to the house martin. But when they catch a glimpse of these lesser-known mustelids their curiosity is piqued. One of our guests at cabin 26 was so intrigued by their antics that she started a pine marten diary, asking other guests to capture their own sightings. The diary entries clearly show that our guests are thrilled with the opportunity to witness these fascinating animals in their natural habitat.
Pine martens were once widely distributed throughout Britain. However, the species is now in danger of extinction in England and Wales and is protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
How did this decline happen and what is being done to ensure these remarkable animals not only survive but actually grow their numbers across Britain once again?
As well as pine martens, the beautiful landscapes of Scotland are home to many other amazing wild animals, from the majestic golden eagle to the stunning red deer. A Forest Holiday in Scotland will reward you with a connection to the natural world at its most glorious.