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Have you spotted a pine marten in Wales?

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 15:33 UK time, Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Pine marten populations are on the increase in the UK, gradually spreading from Scotland where persecution pressures were less.

But you're still very lucky if you've spotted a pine marten in Wales and the Vincent Wildlife Trust would like to know about it to help them track pine marten numbers.

So if you've seen one in Wales, please do tell the Vincent Wildlife Trust about it, and if you have a picture we'd love to see it. So please share it either on the Springwatch Flickr group, or post a comment below with a link to you preferred photo hosting service.

UPDATE: Thanks for your comments. You've given us some really strong leads. We've now been out setting up some camera traps to try to film a pine martin in Wales. Watch this space....

But this would also be a good point to get to know the mustelids (the weasel family) you're likely to spot in the UK, with the help of your photos.

Pine Marten by Bassman99

pine marten

Big, cream bib, long legs, bushy tail, cat or fox-like.

Polecat by Norfolk Images


Banded face, stubby legs, browny black

Mink by Alistair Prentice


No bib, white nose, but not banded like a polecat, water loving

Otter by Pete Walkden


Big, sleek muscular tail, looks like an otter...

Stoat by marsch1962


White bib, stubby legs, small, black tip on its tail (can be white in winter)

Weasel by welshmanwandering1


Really small, white bib, stubby legs, NO black tip on its tail


  • Comment number 1.

    We have a pine martin in the woods,at the back of our house, yes we are in Scotland,but as far as I know they are normally further north ? We are in West Fife.last sighting was last week and it was trying to get into a woodpeckers nest!!

  • Comment number 2.

    We think the photo is a nettle :)

  • Comment number 3.

    We lived in Basel, Switzerland for a year and in the city pine martens were quite common. So much so that you had to specifically insure your car against pine marten damage as they like to chew cables and wires!

  • Comment number 4.

    We had a Polecat cross our garden at Tugby in east Leicestershire on the 18th May at around 8.30pm just as it became dusk

  • Comment number 5.

    ive seen a pine martin in cwm rheidol just outside aberystwyth

  • Comment number 6.

    i have seen a pine martin in Scotland in the facility of go ape in aberfoyal near sterling it was a buitiful sighting and we were really lucky too see the pine martin because you need to be really quite many thanks

  • Comment number 7.

    On holiday in Wales we spotted something out in the garden in a tree. I thought it was a polecat but the colours were wrong. Hmmmm a mystery!

  • Comment number 8.

    Not in Wales, but in the Lake District, in the upper part of Wasdale; maybe a polecat? Probably not a pine marten, as few trees in the area. A busy area for hill climbers; someone else must have seen something.

  • Comment number 9.

    Previously my husband and I lived in Bulgaria for two years. We used to have a pine martin visit us in the cold months. We discovered that they have a weakness for apples when our winter store disappeared. We also watched it on several nights helping itself to our cats food of bread and milk(whilst the cat watched puzzled). Perhaps a bowl of bread and milk will entise the welsh ones to make an appearance.

  • Comment number 10.

    I can definitely account for a pine marten in the West Highlands of Scotland. he steals raisins out of the bird food mix I keep by my kitchen door!

  • Comment number 11.

    You used my pine marten picture! Thanks. It's not in Wales, but in the Black Isle in Scotland where we're lucky enough to see martens in the garden. https://www.flickr.com/photos/bassman99/7122576677/ The link is to a photo taken at the end of April this year (through the living room window) and includes the same gate as the picture in the blog. Peanut butter, eggs, nuts, raisins and Nutella keep martens coming back. Great fun to watch, although after years of toleration our cat has twice recently chased one up a tree.

  • Comment number 12.

    We have Pine Martins here at Lake Vyrnwy ive seen them at the bottom of our drive though i have yet to see them any closer to the house, also polecats are around here and near the farm there are a few stoats, probably after the young rabbits.

  • Comment number 13.

    No, but could I please use this comment to get a message to the Springwatch Team ?
    Please correct the wrong conclusion made last June at the end of the discussion
    regarding the question "What's the mystery sound in the owl nest "
    At the time I was fortunate enough to have Barn Owls nesting successfully in one of my chimneys and was familiar with the anxiety calls made by the male bird, if,for example, it was concerned at my presence nearby. The Springwatch bird was
    apparently concerned about some threat when it made the mystery sound.
    I posted a comment positively identifying the sound, 268, at 20.15 on 8th June. This
    was the only comment I saw which said unequivocally what the sound was. Sadly
    this was ignored, or missed. I followed up with comment 425 on 10th June and,
    following the announcement that the mystery sound had been made by one of the
    juveniles, I commented again, 435, on 13th June. Sadly, no response.
    Please put the record straight for your many viewers who I know would be interested and, like me, were surprised that none of your experts could come up
    with the right answer. Thank you.
    Peter Smith

  • Comment number 14.

    I can't be sure but I think I saw a Pine Marten when we were camping this weekend north of Aberdyfi. Walking through the camp site on Saturday night around 11pm we disturbed something in the long grass which bolted into the trees. Unfortunately it was too dark to see it in much detail, but it moved like a cat but was smaller and longer, like a pine marten

  • Comment number 15.

    Thought I saw a Pine Marten about 3 weeks ago on Isle of Wight very dark night, wasn't too sure what it was at the time but Springwatch last night has pretty much convinced me, anyone know of recorded sighting on IOW ? Thanks

  • Comment number 16.

    last september i did see what i thought at the time was an mongoose that had escaped from a private collection ,that was until i seen your show on t,v, tonight , i now know the creature i had seen was a pinemartin , thank you .

  • Comment number 17.

    We hand reared a baby pine marten whose mother had been run over a couple of years ago, lovely wee guy, we called him Hugo. Reared him for about 9 weeks before releasing him into the woods near the house, we are in Northern Scotland. I will try to find our photos of him and upload them.

  • Comment number 18.

    Not in wales but 2 seperate sightings of pinemartin whilst mountain biking at glentrool in Galloway forest park

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    I am flat on my back at present following spinal surgery but Springwatch lets me go outside. I remember seeing pine martins when I used to climb in the Wyw Valley on Winters Leap twenty years ago. It was such a privilege to watch them.

  • Comment number 21.

    Re pine martins. 3 weeks ago my springer spaniel dived into the hedgerow carrying a pine martin in her mouth. She dropped it on command. I didn't know it was a pine martin until I checked my book but unlike the description of a white chest, described on Springwatch, it had a vivid orange chest as does the one in my book- very beautiful. I contacted the Derbyshire Mammal group which confirmed that they have been seen around the Derbyshire area. Unfortunately, because of the eagerness of my springer, I couldn't get a photograph.

  • Comment number 22.

    My parents had a cottage west of Lochaline. We used jam and peanut butter on the bird table to entice a Pine Martin into the garden. We could sit and watch it from the porch, 10 feet away. AMAZING!!

  • Comment number 23.

    I enjoy watching Springwatch, so do not wish to come across as a 'killjoy', but given (i) the illusive and quiet disposition of Pine Martens and (ii) that humans and human disturbance have been and continue to be the largest threat to these creatures - was it not slightly irresponsible of the Springwatch team to encourage people to go searching for them in order to take photos/confirm their existence in Wales? If there are pine martens in Wales, there might not be for much longer if increased numbers of people go looking for them!

  • Comment number 24.

    Fantastic to see the Pine Martens, Chris Packham, your comments at the end of the show had me in stitches. Keep up the wit.

  • Comment number 25.

    I was wondering what the situation was with regards to Beech Martens. I thought Springwatch mentioned a few years ago that these were still to be found in Wales. Is this still the case and is it not possible that people are mistaking Beech Martens for Pine Martens?

  • Comment number 26.

    About two months ago running early on a Sunday morning through Pembrey Country Park in Carmarthenshire I spotted an animal feeding on a pine cone on a track. As I approached within 200m, it ran off, the large fluffy tail was a deep red and far to big to be a red squirrel. I believe it was a pine marten but I have not heard of any other recorded sighting in the area.....

  • Comment number 27.

    We live north of Merthyr Tydfil, bordering a broadleaf and coniferous mixed forest.
    It may not be much use now but my wife and I saw a pine marten in our back garden on 26th August 2008. This is an extract from the email I sent to my daughters:
    "Just thought you'd like to hear about another first: we saw a pine marten in the garden - it chased a rabbit through the fence and from the noises we heard in the forest, I think it was caught."

  • Comment number 28.

    I saw a pinemartin in pinewoods in Holkham, Norfolk.

  • Comment number 29.

    It was either a polecat or pinemarten in Holkham Norfolk.

  • Comment number 30.

    my name is ashleigh & i live in caerphilly i was driving at the top of caerphilly mountain & i seen a oine martin running across the road it was early hours of the morning i didnt know wot it was at the tie so i looked it up. I didnt take a pic of it cos i didnt know that they was low in habitat but they r on top of caerphilly mountain.

  • Comment number 31.

    All this talk of Pine Martens reminds me of September past as I was sneaking through Muff Glen, Eglinton - Northern Ireland, recording the numbers of red squirrels for my dissertation.
    My brother and myself were wondering back after a day of squirrel counting and just as it started to get dark, on the crest of a hill stood a Pine Marten, poking up to peep at us before wandering off very calmly. Pity the light was too dim to get a photograph, but what a beautiful animal. Hopefully it wont make too big a dent in the local red squirrel population!

  • Comment number 32.

    thanks for all the replies. Sorry we can't respond to them all, but a few

    To: sepahpourk
    We think that if it was eating a pine cone then it was probably a red squirrel.

    To: arianne
    They have indeed been seen in Derbyshire, the bib colour can be anything from white to orange. Real shame not to have got a photograph!

    To: Victoria
    Thank you for your concern. We are not asking people to go out to find them but rather to report incidental sightings thay have already had and any photos or video they happen to have taken of them in Wales. The chance of finding one is so slim that even if someone has been inspired by us to go out looking, their chances of finding one are so low that the chance of disturbance is very low to practically none. It is pretty impossible to find a den site so we are not worried.

    To: puffin_girl
    Beech martens aren't native to the UK and as far as the Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) are aware, they have never been recorded in the UK.

    To: bigdoglittledogiow
    The VWT think it is unlikely that this was a pine marten

    To: Peter Smith
    Sorry if you felt your comments were overlooked. We do get a lot. I do remember that it was speculated that the sound was associated with anxiety and your experience would seem to re-enforce that.

  • Comment number 33.

    Three or four years back, while driving home to Aberystwyth, I saw what looked like a pine marten crossing the A44 at the top of the pine wood east of the Dyffrin Castle inn (now closed) east of Ponterwyd, on the slopes of Plynlimon. I didn't think it was possible at the time, but from your description of where they are it does seeem credible

  • Comment number 34.

    dear spring watch team
    thought you might be interested in our find. We think it may be thye remains of a pine martian! we live on a country lane in north norfolk. sadly the boby of this animal was found outside our front drive gate on the verge may have been hit by a car? my husband said he'd seen something like a martian further up the lane a couple of weeks earlier, alive, large similiar to a stout but much lager, up on its haunches, looking at him then obviously shot off.
    we retrieved the skull after nature had done it's work. most of the teeth etc, we estimate tail length 18" thick fur tail 9" circumference. It couldn't have been very old, teeth in amazing condition. very sad to see it like this, we do have pine tree near us, copses mainly. weknow how rare they are but could one or two be in our area? we live 5 mile south of pensthorpe. photo on flickr the jeffery family twyford norfolk. ps love the programme.

  • Comment number 35.

    I will be watching this with great interest. From when I was quite young I became fascinated with Pine Martens, although I'm over 50 and have still never seen one. What really sealed it was that on a trip to the alps as a boy I bought a book on the wildlife there and there was a big entry on Pine Martens. It fascinated me that not only was there a super stoat (Stoats and Weasels have always been favourites), but that this largish mustelid could catch squirrels in the trees.

    I didn't live far from the Welsh border and we often went on day trips or holidays there. Whilst I could find mention of them in Wales I could never find out where they supposedly were (this is in the 1970s). It was very disappointing to subsequently find that they were thought extinct. So the recent sightings not just in Wales but elsewhere are fascinating.

    In the early 1990s I found a group of interesting scats on top of a log in woodland above Thirlmere in Cumbria. There were about 4-5 scats in a small group. However it was the size that intrigued me. I'd say they were slightly smaller than fox scats, but they didn't smell like fox. Yet they were too big for a stoat. What I couldn't reliably find out at the time was whether there were known to be any Pine Martens left in England and Wales. I could find mentions in older literature but the newer literature just left them out. I asked around and no one seemed to know the answer. What I wasn't sure of is whether there was a remnant population and it was hush-hush, or was it simply that no one knew or simply hadn't seen one for a long time. I might still have some photos of the scats but I would have to do some searching.

  • Comment number 36.

    I have x3 brilliant photos of young Pine Martens, that incredibly were taken in my Aunt and Uncles Wood shed in Sutherland (right next to their house!). There were a total of four young, all seemingly unflustered by the occasional visit into their snug home, to retrieve wood for the fire. Brilliant pictures, but I don't know how to post them, on this site.......help??

  • Comment number 37.

    I think I have now posted the above mentioned pictures on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/63610781@N05/?saved=1

  • Comment number 38.

    I think i saw a Pine martin in school it ran across the bottom of the ramp and hid in the blackcurrant bushes in the garden!

  • Comment number 39.

    Three years ago our little cat was killed by a pine marten. I found her body - whole and clean but with the throat ripped out - and the local gamekeeper told me that was the work of a pine marten. I was told that it probably had young pine martens and was protecting them. We live in Sutherland, in the Scottish Highlands.

  • Comment number 40.

    You may be interested in this recent thread from the Nature Plus site, where someone has posted a picture of a pine marten or stoat (the debate rages) in North Staffordshire, which isn't all that far from Wales: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/message/18418

  • Comment number 41.

    Just a thought about the search for pine martens in Wales and, possibly, spreading the search further afield. If any are positively sighted in Wales, I'd imagine they're descended from families in the area anyway, but might it be worth spreading the search further afield, first of all up the Western coast as far as Scotland (or has there been enough time for populations to gradually migrate southwards from there?) and then perhaps through the rest of mainland Britain? There might be remnant populations in more places that have yet to be discovered (unlikely though that probably is, I know). Anyway, just a thought, although I realise I'm rather leaping ahead with speculation, when the current search has hardly even begun.

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm 90% sure I saw a Pine Martin on my lawn last week. It was dusk and at first I though the shadowy figure was an otter but it was smaller and we dont liive to near a river. I heard about Pine Martin sightings and that seemed more plausible. I live in Aberystwyth (not far from the Spingwatch Team). Would love to catch it on camera!

  • Comment number 43.

    Hi, I have never seen a pine martin in the wild before today! Unfortunately it was laying at the side of the road, it was between port of menteith and aberfoyle on the A81 part of the queen Elizabeth forest park in loch lomond and the trossachs national park. I had to stop my van and get out to make sure it wasn't a cat, when I got to my destination I had a chat with my customer who said there friend had seen one in the area just a few days ago. They had never seen one, however they do get the odd visit from a wild cat who comes up to there patio and mock there dogs. Does this sound plausible???? We also have nesting ospreys in that area which I ve watched on several occasions hunting together on Carron Valley Reservoir, in stirlingshire, that's a proper national geographic moment that is, not seen them this year yet, I hope they made it back. Boom.

  • Comment number 44.

    POLECAT sighting in Witshire, between Marlborough and Pewsey. It was crossing the road at Dusk. Liz H

  • Comment number 45.

    I am 99% sure that I have seen a pine marten in the ash tree at the bottom of our garden! It was an amazing sight and appeared as alittle larger than a cat with a stoat like face and features and a pale coloured bib. The tail was very long and bushy and it was climbing around high up in the tree!It wa sonly the fact I had a good pair of binos close to hand that I was able to look at it for sometime and identify it as a pine marten (or polecat). This is so amazing as I live in Somerset!!
    What a sighting, can anyone enlighten me please.

  • Comment number 46.

    In 2011 I did some research into pine martens in Derbyshiere and found out the following information:In Sept 1996 two were seen by a farmer near Riber near Matlock. In February 1997 one seen at a secret location between Matlock and Belper,in 1998,one seen up a tree in the Goyt Valley.An abundance of reports in the Derwent valley between 1996 and 1999. In 2002 one was seen 7m up a tree at Chellaston,and in 2005 one was seen moving from bough to bough over 20m up a tree at Eckington. After a letter to the Buxton Advertiser, a gentleman told me about his sighting of a dead pinemarten near the village of Baslow in the Summer of 2010. Previously in March 2008 another man saw a pine marten near Parsley Hay.He also saw a pine marten in February 2011 whilst on a walk between Hurdlow to Friden along the old Victorian Tissington Trail.For more information contact me at [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 47.

    We were on holiday in wales two weeks ago, and were walking the coastal path between Gilfach and Aberearon as we rounded a bend we spotted what at first we thought was a fox but the colour was wrong. After watching springwatch tonight we are now convinced it was a Pine Marten the colour was the same and also the size. Unfortunately as soon as it saw us it disappeared into the scrub before we could take a photograph

  • Comment number 48.

    I saw a pair of what I think were Pine Martens in the middle of the road near the village of Rhydowen on the A475
    between Lampeter and Newcastle Emlyn. It was in around late February and dark. I was driving and as I rounded a bend in the road there they were right in my path. I had to brake hard and swerve madly to avoid them which thank goodness I did. I only got a brief look but my immediate thought was Pine Marten. I saw another one on this stretch of road but this time nearer Lampeter one week later, it was in the hedge with its head peeping out so I did not see the body.

  • Comment number 49.

    Not a good photo, I know Mr Packham! But the context is very interesting... We stood quietly and watched whilst this stoat moved its family of kits from a nest in the wood, across a minor road in the East Sussex countryside to a new nest in a narrow hedge the other side of the road. It went back and forth four or five times, dragging one baby at a time. It had a really purposeful air about it and the kits didn't move during their house move...

  • Comment number 50.

    I think its fascinating that there are so many sightings of pine martens in wales , i really hope they can increase in numbers . but no OFFICIAL sighting since 1950 ? this is strange. I wonder how many sightings have occurred in the Gwidir Forest , not far from me ?

  • Comment number 51.

    I have it on good authority that there are Pine Martens in Machynlleth.

  • Comment number 52.

    While out on our Sunday walk just found a dead pine marten! It was knocked down on the road. I am from a rural area in County Tyrone Northern Ireland. I notice from the comments they are not usually found in N. Ireland. It looks to be a male adult one. I have attached some photo's named Pine Marten Tyrone.

  • Comment number 53.

    To Vyrnwy 1206: You have have seen Polecats and other similar species where you live! I work for a media company specialising in wildlife and documentary programmes, and we would love to talk to you regarding the sightings. Please email Aden productions https://aden.co/

  • Comment number 54.

    I live next to the Dornoch Firth, so surrounded by water but no trees but I have seen what looks like a pine marten. Too big to be a stoat, has a white bib, so not a mink, seen climbing over building roofs and running along edge of beach. Is it a pine marten as I thought they lived near woods?

  • Comment number 55.

    Today my partner and I saw a Pine Martin. It was only four feet away and had a good look at us, it wasn't nervous at all. It was only 6-7 inches, an orange/brown in colour with a white bib. It was living wild in a rural garden centre near Neath in South Wales. We have never ever seen one in real life before and we were chuffed to bits. At first I thought it was a baby otter but my partner had recently saw The One Show which did a piece on them.

  • Comment number 56.

    At that size are you sure it was a pine marten and not a stoat or weasel?

  • Comment number 57.

    I reported sighting a pine Marten a few years ago in North Pembrokeshire. I got a clear view of its size and colour including its bushy tail, as it was running in front of my headlights. I assumed at the time that someone had pinched one from Scotland and released it into the area until I heard about the Vincent Wildlife Trust. Not seen anything since despite being a frequent visitor to the area and travelling the same stretch of road. I am looking forward to spending a lot more time in that part of the world next year and hopefully with a lot of luck might see something again.

  • Comment number 58.

    Not sure if it was a pine marten, mink or stoat! It was dark in colour and was running along the river bank before jumping into the trees and across the river! It was around 40cm in length and its footprints are roughly 27mm wide by 31mm long. Any ideas??? I do have a pic of the print but not sure if I can upload the image on this blog?? O and it was in north Wales on farm land at 11am..

  • Comment number 59.

    Pine Marten sighted in North West Norfolk, Castle Rising. Friday morning 8.30am 15/03/2013


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